LANG - Francophone Immigration Outside Quebec – March 28, 2022
The Government recognizes that immigration plays an important role in supporting the vitality of Francophone minority communities across the country and contributes to the demographic weight of these communities.
In 2019, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced a comprehensive Francophone Immigration Strategy that aims to reach a 4.4% target of French-speaking immigrant admissions outside Quebec by 2023. This target was established with community stakeholders.
The Strategy has yielded increases in French-speaking admissions: in 2020, French-speaking immigrant admissions increased to 3.61% outside of Quebec from 2.82% in 2019, and represents an increase from 2017 (1.77%) and 2018 (1.82%). There was a decline to 2% in 2021 due to the pandemic.
Recent initiatives to reach the target include allocating additional points for French-speaking and bilingual candidates under the Express Entry system, and improving promotional activities in Canada and abroad.
In 2021, IRCC introduced temporary, uncapped, dedicated streams for French-speaking and bilingual candidates as part of the temporary residence to permanent residence pathway for health care workers, essential non-health care workers and recent international graduates already in Canada.
Francophone immigration target outside Quebec by 2023
The Government is working to achieve the 4.4% target for French-speaking immigrants outside Quebec by 2023. Established in 2003 with community stakeholders, this target reflects the proportion of the Francophone population in Canada outside Quebec as per the 2001 Census.
The evolving COVID-19 situation has affected the number of French-speaking admissions and the proportion of French speakers as most candidates come from abroad. While 2020 projections suggested that IRCC would reach – and exceed – the target by 2023, the pandemic has slowed the arrival of French-speaking permanent residents; many of whom come from abroad.
Settlement and integration
The Department also established single window, pre-arrival services and expanded language training services in both English and French.
My Department is pursuing year-round targeted promotional activities in Canada and abroad, to expand the pool of potential, qualified French-speaking and bilingual candidates.
Promotional efforts focus on engaging with partners, key stakeholders, and employers to showcase the advantages of hiring French-speaking and bilingual workers and to connect them with resources to facilitate hiring. Promotional activities at Designated Learning Institutions also take place to inform international students of various pathways to permanent residence.
With the recent shift to more virtual promotional activities, a broader pool of French-speaking and bilingual talent can now be reached more easily, including from Africa.
The 17th edition of the Destination Canada Mobility Forum was held virtually in November 2021. The highest recorded number of requests for participation were received, with more than 178,000 requests and over 4,000 advertised employment opportunities.
In 2022, IRCC plans to participate in more than 250 activities to promote Francophone immigration, including at events such as the Francophonie Summit in Djerba, Tunisia and the Expo Dubai 2020.
Supporting facts and figures
From 2003 to 2021, more than 70,000 French-speaking immigrants were admitted to Canada in communities outside Quebec. There were 7,650 from January 2021 to January 2022.
In 2020, over 4,000 (71%) French-speaking permanent resident admissions outside Quebec were selected via the Economic Class. There were 4,640 (61%) such admissions from January 2021 to January 2022.
From January 2021 to January 2022, 43% (3,280) of French-speaking permanent residents in Canada outside Quebec were admitted via Express Entry.
While France was by far ranked first as the source country of citizenship (28%) of French-speaking permanent resident admissions to Canada outside Quebec from January 2021 to January 2022, the African and Middle East world regions represented nearly two-thirds of all French-speaking admissions.
From January 2021 to January 2022, the Canadian Experience Class became the main driver of French-speaking admissions outside Quebec, accounting for close to a third (28%) of all admissions and slightly less than half (47%) of French-speaking admissions under the economic class. This increase is due to specific draws under Express Entry that mainly targeted individuals already in Canada in 2021, therefore favouring immigrants qualified under the Canadian Experience Class.
From May 6 to November 5, 2021, the Department created a new Temporary Resident to Permanent Resident Pathway that was not capped for French-speaking and bilingual health care workers, other essential workers, and recent, international graduates from a Canadian institution who were already in Canada and who possessed the skills and experience to support economic growth and recovery. When the Pathway closed, the Department had received more than 2,300 applications from the two streams dedicated to French-speaking essential workers and approximately 4,700 applications for the stream dedicated to French-speaking, recent, international graduates.
IRCC’s Meeting Our Objectives: Francophone Immigration Strategy published in 2019, reaffirmed the goal to achieve a target of 4.4% of French-speaking immigrants outside Quebec by 2023. The Strategy covers the continuum of immigration, from attraction to selection and retention of French-speaking newcomers outside Quebec.
In collaboration with provinces and territories, the Department is advancing the federal/provincial/territorial (FPT) Action Plan to increase Francophone immigration outside Quebec, endorsed by FPT Immigration and Francophone Affairs ministers in 2018. This Action Plan enables FPT governments, in collaboration with stakeholders, to improve the promotion, selection, settlement, integration and retention of French speaking immigrants in official language-minority communities.
Additional points to candidates with strong French-speaking skills under Express Entry were initially introduced in June 2017 and have been successful at increasing French-speaking admissions outside of Quebec. In 2020, these points were further increased. Since then, a larger share of invitations issued to French-tested candidates who demonstrated their French language abilities under Express Entry have been observed, from 2.9% in 2017 to 5.2% in 2020. In 2020, French-speaking admissions under Express Entry represented the majority of French-speaking admissions outside Quebec overall, making Express Entry the most promising tool to increase French-speaking admissions outside Quebec. However, the pandemic has had a toll on that trend with a decline to 3% of invitations issued to candidates with strong French-speaking skills from January to December 2021. This decline is due in large part to the fact that in 2021, the Department targeted invitations to individuals already in Canada by limiting most invitations to individuals who qualified under the Canadian Experience Class, and this population is made up of a smaller proportion of French-speaking candidates.
The Mobilité Francophone exemption under the International Mobility Program was launched in 2016 to promote Francophone immigration in Francophone minority communities outside Quebec. This program exempts employers outside Quebec, from the need to have a Labour Market Impact Assessment when they hire French-speaking temporary foreign workers in managerial, professional and technical positions. From its inception in 2016 to January 31, 2022, around 5,400 work permit applications and 3,180 work permit extensions were approved.
Based on the admission ranges outlined for 2023, the 2022-2024 Immigration Levels Plan notes that the Department will need to admit between 14,014 and 17,886 Francophone permanent residents to Francophone minority communities outside of Quebec in order to meet the 4.4% target. While the 2022-2024 Levels Plan, tabled in Parliament in February 2022, introduced temporary decreases to the Federal High Skills category, IRCC is working to leverage mechanisms at its disposal to reach the Francophone immigration target by 2023.