March 14, 2019 – The number of French-speaking candidates issued Invitations to Apply through the Canada Express Entry system increased to 4.5 per cent as of December 2018, from 2.9 per cent in 2017.
With the French-speaking province of Quebec battling over what to do with an immigration application backlog of 18,000, the rest of Canada is welcoming Francophones with open arms.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada highlighted the figure as it announced Calgary as its first Welcoming Francophone Community on Wednesday March 13, 2019.
It means the Alberta city will receive a portion of $12.6 million in funding over the next three years to help attract and integrate French-speaking immigrants into its society.
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Calgary is one of 14 communities across Canada to receive a share of the funding, with the others to be announced in due course.
A new strategy at all level of government is seeking to boost Francophone communities outside Quebec through immigration, and the integration and retention of new French-speaking permanent residents.
Federal Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen says the initiative is about making new French-speaking permanent residents feel welcome.
“Francophone communities open up their hearts to welcome French-speaking newcomers to Canada,” he said.
“These communities will be able to create even more inviting communities where Francophone immigrants can feel welcome and where they will have more opportunities to make Canada their home.
“Through the launch of the Francophone Immigration Strategy, we are committed to increase the proportion of French-speaking immigrants in Francophone minority communities.”
The new initiative is part of the Canadian federal government’s plan to boost Francophone immigration outside Quebec to 4.4 per cent of total newcomers by 2023.
How Is Canada Trying to Boost Francophone Immigration?
- Mobilite Francophone
Under Mobilite Francophone, certain high-skilled workers with French language ability are exempt from Labour Market Impact Assessment requirements. Mobilite Francophone is a specific stream under the International Mobility Program and can be used to support a permanent job offer under Express Entry.
- Additional Express Entry points
In June 2017, up to 30 additional Express Entry points were made available for candidates with strong French language skills.
- Annex to Canada-Ontario Immigration Agreement
An annex to the Canada-Ontario Immigration Agreement announcement in April 2018 will see a focus on welcoming French-speaking immigrants to Canada’s largest province. Ontario conducts regular draws for its French-Speaking Skilled Worker stream.
- Several Other Provincial Programs
Several of Canada’s provincial immigration programs have policies aimed at fast-tracking French-speaking candidates.
Action Plan for Increasing Francophone Immigration Outside of Quebec
- Promoting awareness of Francophone immigration opportunities, immigration pathways and settlement services to prospective French-speaking applicants;
- Increasing employer engagement in French-speaking immigrant recruitment and employment;
- Increasing the availability, awareness and accessibility of French language services; and
- Supporting diverse and inclusive Francophone communities.
The Action Plan supports the following outcomes:
- Increased number of French-speaking immigrants settling in Canada outside Quebec;
- Increased participation rate of French-speaking immigrants in local labour markets; and
- Increased participation rate of French-speaking immigrants in broader communities and social networks.
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