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Canada announces Express Entry invitations for French-speaking immigrants

by HR Law Canada

In a move aimed at enhancing the vitality of French linguistic minority communities across Canada, the Canadian government has announced changes to its Express Entry system. The new changes will provide a streamlined and efficient pathway for French-speaking immigrants, prioritizing their invitation to apply for permanent residence. This initiative is part of Canada’s commitment to supporting economic growth through Francophone immigration outside of Quebec while recognizing the enriching and strengthening effect it has on these communities.

The announcement was made on May 31 by Minister Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, who revealed the new category-based selection changes to the Express Entry system. These changes are designed to address labor shortages and support identified economic goals by inviting candidates with specific work experience or French language ability to apply for permanent residence.

Today, the first Francophone round for category-based selection was announced by the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Official Languages, on behalf of Minister Sean Fraser. This focus on French-speaking newcomers aims to promote the French language and address labor shortages in communities outside of Quebec.

“These changes mark a significant milestone in our government’s commitment to embracing linguistic diversity and inclusivity,” said Minister Sean Fraser. “By opening new pathways and opportunities, we are not only strengthening our ties with the global Francophonie, but also building a stronger and more vibrant Canada for all. The contribution of Francophone immigration enriches the linguistic, demographic, and economic uniqueness of Francophone communities.”

Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor emphasized the importance of the French language to Canada’s cultural and linguistic landscape. “The French language is an integral and historic part of Canada’s rich cultural diversity,” she said. “Through new opportunities for French-language immigration, we continue to strengthen the vitality of communities across Canada and respond to their unique realities. Together, we will promote and preserve Canada’s linguistic and social diversity.”

The category-based selection approach demonstrates Canada’s commitment to attracting top global talent while addressing the need for French-speaking and bilingual workers to support the economy. These selection rounds will run alongside general invitation rounds throughout the year, with further details to be announced in the coming weeks.

Express Entry is Canada’s primary application management system for those seeking permanent immigration through various programs, including the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Canadian Experience Class, the Federal Skilled Trades Class, and a portion of the Provincial Nominee Program.

In June 2022, changes were made to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to allow for the selection of immigrants based on key attributes that support economic priorities, such as specific work experience or knowledge of French.

The launch of category-based selection on May 31, 2023, marked a significant step toward welcoming skilled newcomers with work experience in priority jobs as permanent residents. The selection of categories was determined through extensive consultations with provincial and territorial partners, stakeholders, and the public, as well as a review of labor market needs. A comprehensive list of eligible jobs for the new categories can be found on the official website.

It is worth noting that immigration accounts for almost 100% of Canada’s labor force growth, helping to address labor shortages in key sectors. However, it is important to mention that under the Canada-Quebec Accord, Quebec has its own immigration levels, and from 2018 to 2022, admissions under the Federal High-Skilled program accounted for a significant portion of overall French-speaking admissions outside Quebec.

This initiative aligns with Canada’s broader efforts to promote Francophone immigration and support the development of Francophone communities outside Quebec. By facilitating the integration of French-speaking newcomers, Canada aims to strengthen its cultural and linguistic diversity while promoting economic growth.

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