This article by Andrew Carvajal is part of the Immigration Education Alliance (IMEDA) weekly column titled "Learning Moments" and published online.
Hello fellow practitioners. Today’s column deals with the place of application for an initial work permit under the Mobilité francophone program.
A French speaking person (born in France), who was in Canada as a visitor, applied for the Francophone work permit by means of flagpoling at the border. He was approved.
Two weeks later another French speaking applicant from Morocco and holder of a Temporary Resident Visa, applied for the same program at the border. He was refused immediately and told that he was not allowed to apply at the border. He was also informed that the initial application must be submitted outside of Canada and that his friend was approved by error at the border.
Was this officer correct? Do all applicants need to apply abroad or was he not allowed to apply at the border because he is not from a visa-exempt country? What are some of the benefits of this work permit?
The Mobilité francophone program is a great option for many French speaking foreign nationals to apply for a work permit that is exempt from a Labour Market Impact Assessment. The initiative was introduced by the federal government to promote francophone immigration outside Quebec.
While the position being offered to the foreign national must be at the NOC 0, A, or B level, the applicant is not required to communicate in French as part of the job. The position must be outside Quebec, however, and the officer assessing the application must be “satisfied that the foreign national’s habitual language of daily use is French”.
Where the officer is not satisfied that the applicant’s habitual language is French, they should request an interview or language test results. When submitting a French language test (TEF), the applicant will need to demonstrate CLB 7 competency.
The border officer mentioned by our reader was in fact correct in advising that these types of work permits cannot be issued for the first time at the port of entry. This even applies to foreign nationals who can normally apply for most work permits upon entry to Canada, under section 198 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, by virtue of being visa exempt. First time applicants to a Mobilité francophone work permit cannot apply inside Canada either.
This is discussed in the Program Delivery Instructions regarding Mobilité francophone [R205(a)] (exemption code C16):
Foreign nationals cannot make an initial work permit application under this exemption from inside Canada. Initial work permit applications must be submitted online or via a visa application centre overseas.
Renewals of these work permits, including for applicants who hold a valid work permit under the discontinued exemption “Significant benefit – Francophone destined to work outside of Quebec” may be submitted by mail to the Case Processing Centre in Vegreville or online.