Updates and Expansion of Canada’s Francophone Mobility Program

Updates and Expansion of Canada’s Francophone Mobility Program

June 19, 2023

On June 15, 2023, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada released an exciting update concerning Francophone Mobility work permit eligibility.

Francophone Mobility is an international mobility program that allows Canadian employers to avoid the lengthy LMIA process and directly support the foreign national’s work permit application.

This program facilitates the mobility of French-speaking individuals that are invited to work in Canada and can prove their moderate fluency in French – meaning level 5 of the Canadian Language Benchmark.

Hiring foreign workers in Canada with the francophone program 2023 Graphic

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for this program, the foreign national must:

1 – Be destined to live and work outside Quebec:

  • They would be allowed to make intermittent trips to Quebec per business needs. However, the primary place of work and residence must be outside Quebec.

2 – Prove moderate French language proficiency via:

  • Designated French language test such as Test d’évaluation de français pour le Canada or Test de connaissance du français pour le Canada.
  • A written confirmation from a college or university for a program completed in French (such as an official letter of completion or transcript).
  • Other documents that show completed education in the French language.

3 – Obtain a job offer from a Canadian employer to work in any occupation except the occupations in agriculture.

For the Canadian employer, the eligibility requirements are as follows:

1 – A Canadian-registered business in active operation without previous compliance issues in relation to hiring and employing foreign workers;

2 – Have the financial ability to support the salary of the foreign worker:

  • Meeting the prevailing wage requirement for a work permit under Francophone Mobility is not mandatory.

3 – Submit an online offer of employment through the IRCC Employer Portal and generate a unique “A” number to be used for the foreign national’s work permit.

4 – Provide the foreign national with a signed job offer letter that clearly outlines the nature of their employment, such as job title, duties, salary and benefits.

Benefits of the Program

The two primary benefits of this program are the exemption from the LMIA and the prevailing wage bracket.

Exemption from the LMIA allows the Canadian employer to save a tremendous amount of time and facilitate a direct application for a foreign national’s work permit.

Exemption from meeting the prevailing wage bracket gives the Canadian employer flexibility in offering a benefits package that is reasonable based on the business needs.

A newly added benefit to this program is a wide variety of occupations that are eligible under this program. Prior to this update, Francophone Mobility was applicable only to high-skilled occupations.

As of June 15, 2023 – this program is open to all occupations except occupations in agriculture.

Processing Times

The processing times will solely depend on the foreign national’s country of citizenship.

If the foreign national is from a visa-exempt country such as France or Belgium, the work permit can be prepared within 3 business days. The foreign national can request the work permit to be issued on arrival to Canada.

If the foreign national is from a visa-required country such as Algeria or Lebanon, the application for a work permit must be filed online for processing at a local visa office. On average, this can take a couple of months.

Employer Compliance

Once the foreign worker lands in Canada and obtains their work permit and a Social Insurance Number, they can be placed on the Canadian payroll and be considered as a full-fledged Canadian employee.

As an employer that hires foreign workers, some rules must be followed to ensure employer compliance, such as:

1 – Provide the foreign worker with the following IRCC resource;

2 – Track the validity of the foreign worker’s work authorization to ensure they are eligible to work in Canada;

3 – Meet the conditions listed on the work permit and signed job offer letter;

4 – Provide with private health insurance until they become eligible for the provincial or territorial public health plan;

5 – Be active in the business that submitted the offer of employment for as long as the work permit is valid:

  • For example, if the business goes through an acquisition or re-branding, a change of conditions may be required for the foreign worker’s work permit.

6 – Meet all applicable federal, provincial and territorial employment and recruiting laws;

7 – Make sure the workplace is free of physical, sexual, psychological and financial abuse.

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Hiring foreign workers in Canada with the francophone program 2023 Graphic