If you are looking for opportunities to work in Canada, you may be interested in the expansion of the Francophone Mobility Program. The Francophone Mobility Program is a work permit program that has been around since June 2016. While foreign nationals must still meet the requirements that apply to all work permit applicants, this program exempts qualifying foreign nationals from the requirement to obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), and the program-specific requirements are relatively relaxed.
Changes to the Requirements
As of June 15, 2023, the eligibility criteria for a Francophone Mobility Program work permit requires that the foreign national:
The Francophone Mobility Program also requires that the foreign national have a qualifying and genuine offer of employment that their prospective employer, with limited exceptions, submitted through the Employer Portal, and the language of work does not need to be French.
The Francophone Mobility Program was previously limited to highly skilled occupations and for applicants with a high degree of French language proficiency in speaking, listening, reading, and writing. With these changes, foreign nationals with moderate French language proficiency seeking to work in nearly any occupation for a Canadian employer outside of Quebec may qualify for a Francophone Mobility Program work permit.
Benefits of the Francophone Mobility Program
Applying for a LMIA is a costly and time-consuming endeavor. While there are several other work permit programs that are exempt from the requirement to obtain an LMIA under the International Mobility Program, one of the benefits of the Francophone Mobility Program is its relatively relaxed eligibility criteria, especially since the expansion of the program. Furthermore, some other LMIA and LMIA-exempt work permit programs impose a mandatory minimum hourly wage at the prevailing, median wage for the occupation and location of work. This is not a requirement of the Francophone Mobility Program.
If you are applying for a Francophone Mobility Program work permit from outside of Canada, your job is in a TEER 0 or 1 occupation, your prospective employment has submitted an offer through the Employer Portal and paid the employer compliance fee, then your application may also benefit from two-week processing time under the Global Skills Strategy.
The program still requires your prospective employer to prepare and submit an offer of employment through the Employer Portal. While it can be difficult to persuade some employers to prepare and submit such an offer, the process is far less complicated, time consuming and costly than applying for an LMIA. Furthermore, the offer of employment and the work permit application are both assessed at the same time.
A Francophone Mobility Program work permit is a closed work permit that specifies the employer on the permit itself. If you work in a TEER 0-3 position for at least one year on a Francophone Mobility Program work permit, then you may be eligible for additional points under the Federal Skilled Worker program selection factors and toward your Comprehensive Ranking System points in the Express Entry system based on a qualifying offer of arranged employment from your employer.
I often consult with students who, for whatever reason, are not eligible for a Post-Graduation Work Permit or young people who have come to Canada on an International Experience Canada work permit and want to continue working in Canada while they pursue permanent residence. I often recommend the Francophone Mobility program as an option. If you are interested in the Francophone Mobility program, but you and/or your prospective employer have questions, I would be happy to speak with you.