The Francophone Mobility Program was introduced on June 1, 2016 in order to facilitate entry of skilled workers whose habitual language is French. The program is under the International Mobility Program (IMP) to support the development of minority official language communities as per the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA).
Specifically, Francophone Mobility is a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) exemption code which removes the obligation for employers to obtain a positive LMIA usually required to hire temporary foreign workers. Francophone Mobility (C16) falls under the ‘Canadian Interests’ branch of exemption codes. The is an employer specific work permit, not an open work permit.
There are several criteria that both the employer and potential applicant must meet.
- The foreign national may be any nationality
- No Age Limit
- Habitual language of daily use is French
- Employment is in a Province or Territory other than Quebec
- Meet the NOC Category 0, A or B
- The employer must submit an offer of employment prior to the application being made, through the employer portal
>The first step on the employer portal is to click on “Create a Job Offer”
>There are four modules that must be completed, including:
. Job Details Section – Under the “LMIA Exemption Title”, select Francophone Mobility R2059(a) . Under “Explanation of how the job meets the requirements of the exemption being requested”, provide details that the candidate is French-speaking, settling outside of Quebec and has been offered a skilled position
>The employer must pay an employer compliance fee of $230 (refundable if an application is refused)
>The employer must then return to the homepage and note the “Offer of Employment Number? and provide this number to the candidate so they can apply for the work permit
>Work permits must be classified as LMIA Exemption Code C16, so long as the foreign national is:
. destined to work in a province or territory outside of Quebec
. qualified to work in managerial, professional, technical or skilled trades occupations under the new 2021 NOC Code classifications(NOC 0, A or B)
Please note, if an employer fails to pay the compliance fee or submit an offer of employment, the application will be refused.
How to Apply
IRCC strongly recommends that an initial exemption code C16 work permit applications be submitted online or via a visa application centre (VAC) overseas.
Foreign nationals who are eligible to apply for a C16 work permit at a port of entry (POE) or from within Canada after entry should include their language results in their work permit application. If the applicant cannot satisfy an officer that they meet this eligibility consideration, the work permit application may be refused.
Is Testing a Mandatory Requirement?
While applicants who apply at a port of entry or from within Canada should include language results, those applying overseas through a VAC, or online, do not necessarily have to submit language testing results. The regulations state that an interview and/or language test will be required “where the officer is not satisfied that the foreign national’s habitual language is French”. Should language results be requested, applicants should demonstrate that they have obtained Niveau de compétence linguistique canadien (NCLC) of level 7 or higher in the Test d’Evaluation de Français (TEF) or Test de connaissance du français (TCF).
Therefore, once the officer is satisfied that the worker’s habitual language is French, their work permit will be classified as C16. The language of work does not have to be French.
Applications to renew/extend exemption code C16 work permits should be submitted directly to IRCC online or to the Case Processing Centre in Edmonton (CPC-E). The initial guidelines must still be met, and the applicant must continue to be employed in applicable NOC 0, A or B occupations outside Quebec.
A reassessment of the French language is not required upon renewal of the work permit; however, the officer at the CPC-E still has the option to refer the case to a local IRCC office for further follow-up.
Officers may issue the work permit for a validity period of the duration of the offer of employment or until the expiry of the travel document or biometrics, whichever is earlier.
- Spouses and common-law partners accompanying exemption code C16 applicants to Canada may obtain an open work permit under the LMIA exemption code C41 without first having an offer of employment, so long as the principal worker
. holds a work permit that is valid for a period of at least 6 months
. physically resides or plans to physically reside in Canada while working
- Spouses and dependents are eligible for an open study permit if the principal applicant has obtained their initial work permit in writing before entering Canada.
- Minor children accompanying the children of the principal applicant may be exempt from the requirement to obtain a study permit. For guidance on specific requirements regarding obtaining a study permit for minors, see Study permits: Guidelines on minor children.