Canada: Immigration Minister gives update on new Francophone immigration policies and targets

MoMansour - | World

Marc Miller, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship, unveiled a number of measures this morning to encourage Francophone immigration outside of Quebec.

A new program to assist Francophone immigration, the implementation of the Action Plan for Official Languages, the revitalization and extension of the Welcoming Francophone Communities projects, and a new immigration policy are among the measures.

According to the Minister, the new Francophone immigration strategy will support the expansion and greater significance of Francophone minority populations. To alleviate labor shortages, the program includes initiatives including recruitment help and promotion.

Fourteen Canadian towns will continue to get funds to support the integration of French-speaking immigrants as part of the continuation of the Welcoming Francophone towns initiatives. The program will be expanded to enable the Canadian government to choose up to ten additional Canadian communities capable of facilitating the integration of French-speaking newcomers.

Projects aimed at removing obstacles to Francophone immigration will get funding under the recently established Francophone Immigration Support Program.

Lastly, the Minister emphasized that in December 2023, admissions of French-speaking citizens outside of Quebec surpassed the target of 4.4%, coming in at almost 4.7%. This goal is set at 6% for 2024, 7% for 2025, and $8 for 2026, according to prior announcements from the IRCC.

"Immigration of Francophones is essential to the development of our national identity," he declared. "The various initiatives we are putting in place will draw in competent Francophone laborers who will aid in the cultural and economic advancement of these areas. We are steadfast in our resolve to restore and increase the demographic weight of Francophone minority populations, and we are working to ensure the smooth welcome and integration of newcomers who speak French.

Initiatives aimed at attracting Francophone Immigration

New selection standards for applicants using Canada's Express Entry system of programs—which includes the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), and Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP)—were released by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) in 2023.

French language proficiency was one of these new selection criteria, which centered mostly on candidates' professional expertise in in-demand Canadian occupations. To be eligible for this category, a person must demonstrate reading, writing, speaking, and listening comprehension in French that is equivalent to a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) of 7 or higher.

The IRCC's 2019 Strategy for Francophone Immigration is what led to the formation of this unique immigration category. The immigration strategy included raising the percentage of Francophone immigrants living outside of Quebec to 4.4% by the end of 2023 as one of its goals. Furthermore, the plan aims to enhance the ability of Francophone communities across Canada and facilitate the smooth integration and retention of newcomers who speak French.

The Government of Canada's Action Plan for Official Languages 2023–2028 provides additional support for these initiatives. It allocates over $80 million CAD over five years to a range of francophone immigration and retention activities, such as streamlining existing frameworks for francophone immigration, hiring French-speaking primary and secondary school teachers, and improving existing frameworks for francophone immigration.

Why Is Immigration to France Francophone?

The Official Languages Act gives the federal government of Canada the authority to uphold and advance the status of both official languages, French and English. Among these goals, the government must guarantee the respect and development of Canada's two official languages. This includes promoting the status of English and French as equals in official institutions and society and assisting in the growth of the nation's minority linguistic communities, which speak either French or English.

One of the main reasons the department has taken these steps to welcome more French-speaking entrants is that, as a result of these objectives, the IRCC has the responsibility of welcoming and retaining Francophone newcomers to Canada (and further assisting French-speaking communities within the country).

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