I want to work in Canada but employers always seem to prefer LMIA-exempt candidates over those who will be applying for the LMIA-required work permit under the TFWP. Is there any way I too can qualify for a LMIA-exempt work permit?
If you are a skilled worker who is searching for a job in Canada, then chances are high that you too have lost out to candidates due to the LMIA requirement. The International Mobility Program offers multiple LMIA-exempt work permits. However, most of the work permits under the IMP are nice options that don’t really work for a skilled worker who just wants to work in Canada.
If you want an option that’s just like the standard TFWP work permit but without the mandatory LMIA requirement, then you should seriously consider the Mobilité Francophone work permit.
Key Advantages of the Mobilité Francophone Work Permit
No difference between the LMIA-exempt Mobilité Francophone work permit and LMIA-mandatory work permit under the TFWP except for the French proficiency requirement. This means you need extra education or work experience or Canada experience to qualify for this work permit.
Two ways to prove your proficiency in French. Either you demonstrate that French is your habitual language. Or, you have scored NCLC 7 or higher in your French language test.
This work permit covers NOC 0, A and B jobs, which means managerial employees, professionals, technical experts, and skilled trades persons can use this route to live and work in Canada.
You should intend to work outside Quebec, which is not a significant complication considering Quebec has its own set of immigration programs that you can apply separately if you wish to live in the province.
Whether you use French as your habitual language or whether you have NCLC 7 or higher French proficiency is a one-time exercise. You don’t have to satisfy this condition again at the time of renewal of the work permit.
While proficiency in French is important, it’s not mandatory for the language of work at the employer’s office to be French. This means you can qualify even if you are comfortable working in an English-speaking environment in course of performing your duties as a professional, manager, or skilled trades person.
If you have the Mobilité francophone work permit, then your spouse or partner will be eligible for a LMIA-exempt open work permit in Canada, which means he/she can apply for the work permit even without having a job offer in hand.
All PR options are open for you. No work experience? Then work for one year and then qualify for FSWP. Or, use the Canadian work experience to apply under Canada Experience Class. Beyond Express Entry, there are scores of PNP streams that you can explore for permanent residence.
Qualifying for the Mobilité Francophone Work Permit
Habitual use of French is the key requirement here. The immigration officer can seek French language test results of NCLC 7 or higher if he/she is not convinced during the interview at the Port of Entry that you fulfill the ‘habitual use of French’ requirement.
This is important because you cannot expect to qualify for this visa by simply acing the test results. You should be a Francophone i.e. a French-speaking individual and the test result is merely additional proof in doubtful cases.
This means you need to serious work on your French skills to qualify for this visa and must not just seem like but actually be a person who leads his/her normal life through habitual use of French.
So, if you are too old to come to Canada to study to qualify for its international graduate streams or don’t have the option of switching to a completely different NOC code to boost your permanent residence prospects, then you can and should consider the Francophone route to the Canadian work permit and, if you are interested, permanent residence.