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Immigrate to Canada as a French Speaker

Updated: May 15

People in Canada speak different languages and French stands out to be one of the primary language for persons considering coming into the country. Here's how to immigrate to Canada as a French speaker!

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Immigrate to Canada as a French Speaker

Canada is known for its diverse population, with people who come from all over the world and have different cultural roots. People in Canada speak different languages, but English and French stand out to be the primary language for persons considering coming into the country. The immigration programs offered by the Canadian government test the applicants for proficiency in either English or French patois. This provides an advantage for applicants whose native language is French and they stand a good chance of succeeding in these programs. Canada offers specific programs and has plenty of immigration for French speakers. Two of these immigration options for French speakers are discussed below.

Some French-speaking countries are France (60 million native speakers), Canada (7 million native speakers), Belgium (4 million native speakers), Switzerland (2 million native speakers), Congo-Kinshasa, Congo-Brazzaville, Côte d’Ivoire, Madagascar, Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Niger, Mali, Senegal, Haiti, and Benin republic. Natives of these countries are proficient in the French language, though they may still be able to speak the English language, but not as good as their French. On the other hand, there are some from these countries whose French proficiency is just as good as their English.

Both the federal and provincial governments have shown a continued commitment to support French-speaking immigrants in Canada with resources and programs specifically geared towards French-speaking applicants. There are many options available to French-speaking foreign workers for both temporary residence and permanent residence.

After immigration, assimilation into French-speaking provinces like Quebec will be very easy for persons coming from countries where French is widely spoken. Canada also has other French-speaking communities in provinces such as New Brunswick, Ontario, British Columbia, and Alberta. The Canadian federal government has revealed plans to welcome over a million immigrants into Canada while still maintaining their heritage of which French is a vital part. Migration into Canada for French-speaking individuals is possible through several programs put in place by the government.

The most popular Express Entry Program for Federal Skilled Workers, Federal Skilled Trade Workers, and Canadian Experience Class may allow you to earn up to 30 additional points for strong French language skills even if French is your second language.

Besides gaining points in the Express Entry, you may also explore the following programs below for French Speaking Skilled Workers.

Immigrate as a French speaker in Canada through these programs:

1. Ontario's Express Entry French-Speaking Skilled Worker Stream

Ontario’s Express Entry French-Speaking Skilled Worker Stream is an immigration program under the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP). It allows persons who are proficient in the French language and possess the skills needed for work to apply to live permanently in Canada.

To receive consideration under the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) stream, the candidate must have a valid profile in Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada's (IRCC) federal Express Entry pool either under the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) or the Canadian Experience Class (CEC). They must first receive a Notification of Interest (NOI) from the OINP based on their Express Entry profile, which will invite them to apply to the OINP for nomination under the French-Speaking Skilled Worker Stream. Upon approval of the application, candidates will get a notification for the OINP nomination. After accepting the nomination, they then apply to the IRCC for permanent residence.


In order to qualify for Ontario French-Speaking Skilled Worker Stream, candidates must satisfy the following requirements:

  1. They must meet the eligibility requirements for one of Canada's federal skilled programs, which are the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) or Canada Experience Class (CEC).

  2. They must meet the stream's work experience requirements;

  3. They must demonstrate a language proficiency level of Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7 or higher in French and a CLB 6 or higher in English in all four components; speaking, reading, writing, and listening. This is proven through valid test results of less than two years old.

  4. They must possess a Canadian Bachelor's, Master's, or Ph.D. degree OR an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) report produced by a designated organization such as World Education Services (WES), indicating that the foreign education is equivalent to a Canadian Bachelor's, Masters or Ph.D. degree.

  5. They must have the intention of residing in Ontario by providing documentation to demonstrate ties to Ontario.

  6. They must hold legal status in Canada and maintain it until the time of nomination if they are residing in Canada at the time of applying.

  7. They must possess sufficient funds to cover settlement costs in Ontario. This requirement can be met by one or a combination of factors listed by the OINP, such as bank statements, annual earnings from ongoing employment in Ontario, or a job offer in Ontario.


Federal Skilled Worker Program

Candidates choosing assessment against the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) criteria must have at least one year of continuous, full-time employment experience, or part-time equivalent, in a National Occupation Classification (NOC) Type/ Level 0, A, or B occupation in the five years before the date of the NOI from the OINP;

  • Full-time work implies a minimum of 30 hours of work over one week in one job and a minimum of 1,560 hours of paid employment in one calendar year.

  • Continuous work means there are no gaps between periods of employment.

  • Part-time equivalent work means at least 15 hours of work over one week, and a total of at least 1560 hours of paid employment in two years.

Canadian Experience Class

Candidates choosing their assessment against the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) criteria must have at least one year of cumulative, full-time employment experience, or part-time equivalent, in a NOC 0, A, or B occupation in Canada in the three years before the date of the NOI from the OINP.

2. Nova Scotia Invites French Speaking Express Entry Candidates

Recently, Express Entry candidates were invited by the province of Nova Scotia to apply for a provincial nomination for Canadian permanent residence through its labor market priorities stream on April 27, 2020. The last draw targeted express entry candidates who had selected French as their first official language. These candidates had scores above the Canadian language benchmark of 8 in all four language abilities; reading, speaking, listening, and speaking. The selected candidates also had a Canadian language benchmark score of 6 and above for all four language abilities and possessed a Canadian equivalent bachelor’s degree or a completed program of three years or above at a university, college, or technical school. Other express entry requirements of candidates are that they should have a valid express entry number and meet minimum criteria to gain acceptance into the pool.  Candidates are given a letter of interest and a comprehensive ranking system score (CRS). This score is a major determinant of a candidate’s rank in the express entry pool. It is based on factors such as age, education, skilled work, and others. Candidates with a provincial nomination are given an extra 600 points in addition to their CRS score, thus guaranteeing their invitation to apply for permanent residency. The Labor Market Priorities Stream allows the Nova Scotia Nominee Program (NSNP) to search Canada’s Express Entry pool for eligible candidates who match labor market needs in the province. Since its launch in 2018, the stream has held 10 draws, including this one, and invited early childhood education workers, financial auditors, accountants, social workers, and nurses, among other professionals. ​ These programs show Canada’s continued commitment to preserving our French history and reward French-speaking individuals. The government is providing incentives to French-speaking individuals by rewarding extra points for individuals who speak French as their first or second official language. You can earn up to 30 additional points in the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) when you apply for immigration through Express Entry.

Are you a French Speaker looking to immigrate to Canada? We can help.

Our licensed Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs) will be able to assist you in understanding the best program for your immigration and the application process. The process is simple – we start with a consultation where we conduct a detailed profile assessment. We can then proceed with the application if you wish to do so, where we handle the paperwork for you to submit a well-prepared strong application. Ready to start? Book Your Consultation with an immigration consultant or call us at +1 604 484 9474. We offer services catered to your needs, whether it be to ask specific immigration questions, review services for those wanting to make their Express Entry profile on their own, or full representation services where we prepare your entire application.

Are you looking to apply for Canadian Immigration through Express Entry programs? Get a free assessment of your profile to understand whether or not you meet basic eligibility requirements. See how your language skills in English and French impact your points.

A Cautionary Note: The foregoing provides only an overview and does not constitute legal advice. Readers are cautioned against making any decisions based on this material alone. Rather, specific legal advice should be obtained, and the readers are asked to refer to the government website for the most updated information.

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