French Is Your Gateway for Immigration to Canada

French Is Your Gateway for Immigration to Canada

Canada is renowned for its inclusive and diverse immigration policies. It welcomes individuals from around the globe to contribute to its vibrant society. The Express Entry system is a gateway to permanent residency for prospective immigrants. For those proficient in French, it can be the key to unlocking additional points and securing an invitation to apply. In this blog, we explore the significance of the French language in the Express Entry profile and delve into alternative pathways, particularly the French Speaking Skilled Workers Stream under the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program.

Express Entry and French for Immigration to Canada

The Express Entry system is a points-based immigration system designed to select skilled workers for Canadian permanent residency. It assigns points based on various factors, such as age, education, work experience, and language proficiency.

CLB Level 7 in French

Proficiency in the French language can significantly boost your Express Entry profile. Achieving Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) level 7 in French allows applicants to earn additional points, enhancing their overall Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score. These extra points can be a decisive factor in receiving an invitation to apply for permanent residency.

French Language Tests Accepted by IRCC

To showcase French proficiency, candidates can take language tests recognized by the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Two accepted tests are the Test d’évaluation de français (TEF Canada) and the Test de connaissance du français (TCF Canada). These tests evaluate reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills, providing a comprehensive language proficiency assessment.

How proficiency in French can propel your Express Entry journey

Express Entry CRS Points Breakdown

Let’s take a look at the distribution of points for French.

Points for French Proficiency

Candidates with CLB level 7 in French can earn up to 22 additional points in the Express Entry CRS if they apply with a spouse or common-law partner or 24 points if they are single. This substantial boost increases their competitiveness in the pool of applicants, making them more likely to receive an invitation to apply for bilingual candidates during targeted selection rounds.

Combined French-English Proficiency – Points for Bilingualism

Applicants proficient in both English and French enjoy a significant advantage. The ability to communicate in both official languages can earn candidates up to 50 additional points, making them highly sought after in the Express Entry system. CLB 7 is a mandatory level to achieve these bonus points. For CLB 7 in all four French language skills and CLB 4 or lower in English, the bonus points will be only 25. Yet, a combination of CLB 7 in French and CLB 5 or higher in all four English skills will give an additional 50 points, the same as the job offer supported by LMIA.

Express Entry invitations for French-speaking newcomers

With the introduction of category-based Express Entry draws, French language proficiency has become a new factor that has changed the rules for PR applicants in Canada.

In total, after the category-based selections were announced on May 31, 2023, as of February 2024, IRCC conducted seven separate invitation rounds for francophones: six in 2023, resulting in 8,700 invitations, and a large-scale selection on February 1, 2024, when 7,000 foreigners with a strong knowledge of French language were invited. The CRS scores of these candidates ranged between 375 and 486 points. IRCC lowered the CRS scoring criteria for French-speaking candidates in this year’s round, which was only 365 points.

Round Date ITAs Lowest score
256 F-L 7- Jul 2300 439
258 F-L 12- Jul 3800 375
260 F-L 2- Aug 800 435
266 F-L 27-Sep 500 472
270 F-L 25- Oct 300 486
273 F-L 7- Dec 1000 470
282 F-L 1- Feb 7000 365
 Total 15700 365

Read also: Open Work Permit for Israelis in Canada

Plan B: Ontario’s French-Speaking Skilled Workers Stream:

Ontario also offers a plan B if you still don’t get enough points to be invited directly to Express Entry. The Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) has a dedicated stream for the Francophones. OINP also requires the candidates to meet the minimum criteria of either the Federal Skilled Worker Program or the Canadian Experience Class program.

Overview of the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program

For those who may need more than the required points despite their French proficiency, the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) offers an alternative route. Specifically, the French Speaking Skilled Workers Stream (FSSW) caters to individuals with strong French language skills.

FSSW Eligibility Criteria

To qualify for this stream, candidates must have a valid Express Entry profile and meet the OINP’s eligibility criteria. This includes having a minimum of CLB level 7 in French and CLB level 6 in English, along with other standard Express Entry requirements.

Advantages of OINP’s French Stream:

Successful candidates nominated through the French-speaking Skilled Workers Stream receive an additional 600 CRS points, virtually guaranteeing an invitation to apply for permanent residency in Canada. This strategic pathway is an excellent option for candidates committed to making Ontario their home.

Rounds of invitations under the OINP’s French-speaking skilled Workers Stream

In 2023, Ontario held seven separate selections under the French-speaking skilled Worker Stream, resulting in 1,490 French-speaking candidates with CRS scores of 291-400 receiving invitations to apply for provincial nomination. Only as part of one draw, which took place in January 2024, the OINP has invited 984 candidates with a minimum CRS score of 317, confirming the province’s intention to increase francophone immigration.

Once a Provincial Nominee Certificate is granted, the candidates will receive 600 extra points toward their Express Entry scores. With these additional 600 points, getting an invitation to apply for PR at the next Express Entry draw is almost guaranteed.

Date Stream ITAs Lowest Score
16-Mar FSSW 271 291
16-Mar FSSW 344 400
5-Jun FSSW 139 348
5-Jun FSSW 278 312
25-Jul FSSW 95 321
7-Sep FSSW 300 308
21-Sep FSSW 63 348
18-Jan FSSW 984 317
Total 2474 291

Conclusion: French for Immigration to Canada is crucial!

In conclusion, proficiency in the French language can be a game-changer for individuals looking for immigration to Canada through the Express Entry system. Achieving CLB level 7 in French adds valuable points to your CRS score and opens doors to targeted selection rounds for bilingual candidates. Moreover, for those who need an extra boost, Ontario’s French Speaking Skilled Workers Stream provides a reliable Plan B. By strategically combining language proficiency with other factors, candidates can enhance their chances of securing an invitation to apply and embarking on their journey to permanent residency in the diverse and welcoming nation of Canada.

Oleg Schindler, RCIC R706744

President of Schindler Visa Services

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