What is the Ontario French Skilled Worker Program?

Express Entry is a program offered by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada which streamlines permanent residency for those applying to live and work in Canada. This assessment utilizes a comprehensive point ranking system that is made up of factors such as language, education and work experience. It is through these allotted points that individuals are assessed and possibly granted access into Canada.

There are many ways to get points, including getting approved for Provincial Nominee Programs, of which there are over 80 available throughout Canada. These are programs which are looking for specific characteristics and skills in individuals to fill the unique needs of their provincial workforces. This program does not require the candidate to have a valid job offer within the province and doesn’t consider their overall score in determining eligibility. This means that some individuals who may have a low ranking among applicants for Express Entry may be selected through a provincial program and given the opportunity to apply for permanent residency. 

Ontario has created a nominee program targeting French-speaking immigrants due to the provincial interest in improving the growth and economic vitality of its francophone communities. The Ontario French Skilled Worker Program provides French and English speaking skilled workers the opportunity to live and work in Ontario. Getting approved for this provincial nominee program provides a substantial 600 points to an Express Entry profile, which basically guarantees you will receive an invitation to apply for permanent residence the next time invitations are sent out.

Eligibility for the French Skilled Worker Program

The provincial nominee programs are all automated, meaning they will automatically assess candidates with the information provided in the Express Entry profile. Once a candidate has filled out and submitted their Express Entry profile, they will be contacted by the province with an NOI (Notification of Interest) if they have been identified as a likely candidate, which will allow the applicant to then apply for the program.

The following outline some requirements of the Ontario French Skilled Worker Program:

·       Language

·       Education

·       Funds for Settlement

·       Intention to Reside in Ontario

·       Work Experience

·       Applying from Within Ontario

Applying for Provincial Nominee Programs

Once the NOI has been sent to the candidate based on their Express Entry profile, the individual needs to accept the invitation and complete the application. Although the NOI is sent to applicants who are believed likely to be able to be successful in applying for the program, an NOI does not guarantee that the applicant will be approved.

Due to the financial investment required to apply, and the time-sensitive nature of the provincial nominee program, there is a lot at stake in getting your application correct the first time you apply. The fee will be refunded by the province if the application is determined to be incomplete, however for any reason if the application is deemed unsuccessful, for example, due to an error, the fee will not be refunded.

Further, there are specific guidelines around the types of documentation that are required to support claims made on the application, and there are only certain organizations that provide the required testing which is accepted by Immigration and Refugees Canada.

Getting legal assistance from a skilled immigration lawyer can assess you for eligibility, prevent unfortunate lost time and fees due to an error in the application, inform you on how to acquire the correct supporting documentation, and put you at ease knowing you have individuals working for you who understand the system and have extensive knowledge about how to aid you in this process.

Hart Kaminker is Principal, Kaminker & Associates Immigration Law in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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