French Speaking Skilled Worker Stream (OINP)

Are you a French-speaking skilled professional aiming to immigrate to Ontario, Canada?

Last updated on
February 17, 2024

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The French Speaking Skilled Worker Stream is your pathway to permanent residence. To qualify, you don’t need a job offer in Ontario, but you will need to meet federal Express Entry (EE) criteria and language benchmarks for the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP). You can be inside or outside Canada to apply. In this article, we unpack the eligibility requirements, application process, and insights to improve your chances of success in the French Speaking Skilled Worker Stream.

Key Takeaways

  • The Ontario Express Entry French Speaking Skilled Worker Stream targets bilingual French-speaking professionals without a job offer in Ontario, requiring Federal Skilled Worker or Canadian Experience Class eligibility and proficiency in both English and French. This program has a low CRS score with a cut-off average in the low 300s in 2023.
  • To enhance a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score, candidates should focus on improving language skills, obtaining certifications, enhancing academic credentials, gaining relevant work experience, and maintaining an active and valid Express Entry profile.
  • A provincial nomination from Ontario adds 600 points to a candidate’s CRS score for Express Entry, significantly increasing their chance to receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residence, for which IRCC makes the final decision.

Understanding the French Speaking Skilled Worker Stream

The Ontario Express Entry French Speaking Skilled Worker Stream is a great option for talented French-speaking professionals. Its objective is to bring in proficient French speakers, who also have a strong command of English, to enhance Ontario’s labor market. In order to be considered for the stream, it is necessary to meet the following requirements:

  • Eligibility requirements for the Federal Skilled Worker Program or the Canadian Experience Class
  • Qualify for the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s (IRCC’s) federal Express Entry pool
  • An active Express Entry profile
  • Language test results in both English and French
  • A minimum education of a bachelor degree

Upon joining the Express Entry pool, Ontario may send you a Notification of Interest. This notification is your invitation to apply for provincial nomination through the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP). And the best part? You don’t need a job offer in Ontario to be eligible for this stream.

How to be invited to the French-speaking skilled worker stream

You might wonder how to receive an invitation to this stream. The process begins with maintaining an active, valid Express Entry profile. The French-Speaking Skilled Worker Stream is part of the Human Capital Priorities Stream. This means that you must be eligible for one of the three Express Entry streams and select Ontario as your province of intended residence in Canada. You do not need to create an Expression of Interest or another profile on Ontario's website. Rather, Ontario looks for your profile in the Express Entry pool then conducts draws. If you meet or exceed the minimum cut off (which was in the low 300s in 2023), you will receive an Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) invitation in your Express Entry profile.

Now, we proceed to discuss the specifics in detail.

This is the Chateau Laurier in Ottawa, Ontario. This view is from the Rideau Locks, behind the Parliament of Canada.

Eligibility Criteria Overview for French-Skilled Worker Stream

To be eligible, you must tick off a few boxes. First off, language proficiency. You need to have strong English language abilities with a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) level 6 for English and CLB level 7 for French. Also, you must score at least 67 out of 100 points based on IRCC’s six selection factors, which include language skills.

Next comes education. You must have a Canadian bachelor’s, master’s, or PhD degree, or its international equivalent. If your degree is from outside Canada, you’ll need an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) report. You also need at least one year of continuous paid full-time work experience in a relevant occupation within the last five years for the Federal Skilled Workers Program or within the last three years for the Canadian Experience Class. And lastly, but crucially, you must be admissible to Canada.

The Role of the Express Entry Profile

Express Entry is an online application system that manages a pool of candidates for Canada’s main economic immigration programs. Having a valid profile in the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s (IRCC’s) Express Entry system is a prerequisite for receiving a Notification of Interest from Ontario.

To qualify for the Ontario French-Speaking Skilled Worker stream, you must be eligible for one of the federal economic immigration programs such as the Federal Skilled Worker Program or the Canadian Experience Class. And here’s a pro-tip: in your Express Entry profile, select Ontario as your province of intended residence if you want to be considered for the French Speaking Skilled Worker Stream.

If your Express Entry profile is not eligible, learn more here.

Documents: Settlement Funds and Family Size Considerations

When it comes to your application, every detail matters. One such detail is settlement funds. As an applicant, you must demonstrate adequate settlement funds as determined by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), which are essential to support yourself upon arrival in Canada. But how do you prove this? Bank statements, proof of annual earnings from ongoing employment in Ontario, or a valid job offer within the province can serve as evidence. You will need to provide proof of funds for French-Speaking Skilled Worker stream.

The required settlement funds for a successful application under the French-Speaking Skilled Worker stream are contingent on the size of your family, with larger families necessitating higher amounts of funds. Providing proof of sufficient unencumbered funds to support yourself and your family after arriving in Canada is a critical component of the application process coordinated between the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

Niagara Falls, Ontario. Would you take this boat?

Crafting a Competitive Express Entry Profile

Now, we will discuss how to build a competitive Express Entry profile. Here are some key methods to strengthen your profile and increase your Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score:

  • Improve your language proficiency in French
  • Obtain an educational credential assessment
  • Gain relevant work experience, either in Canada or abroad
  • Have skilled work experience

We will now explore one or a combination of these aspects in more depth.

Language Proficiency and Benchmark Scores

Language proficiency plays a pivotal role in the Express Entry system. Points are earned based on various factors, with up to 50 additional points awarded for strong French language skills, regardless of it being your first or second language. If you’re proficient in French, you can receive 25 extra points for scoring NCLC level 7 or higher if your English is at or below CLB level 4, and 50 extra points if your English is CLB 5 or higher, making you eligible for the Francophone Draw.

Remember, you must demonstrate language proficiency with a minimum Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) level of 6 in English and CLB level 7 in French. And be sure to keep your language test results current. They must be less than two years old when submitting an application for permanent residence under the Express Entry system.

Language abilities can help boost your score since there are many transferability points available for Express Entry where they consider a mix of your education, work and language abilities.

Education and Credential Assessment

Education is another key factor in your Express Entry profile. An Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) can enhance the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score for immigrants with foreign degrees, aiming to enter Canada through the express entry system. If you have foreign educational credentials, you must secure an ECA to verify that your degree, diploma, or certificate is valid and equivalent to a Canadian one.

Make sure to include your ECA report and its reference number in your Express Entry profile as a testament to your assessed and validated educational credentials.

The Application Journey for French-Speaking Skilled Workers

The application process, while exciting, demands careful attention. Following the receipt of a Notification of Interest, it’s required to maintain an active and valid Express Entry profile throughout your application process with the OINP. But what does this journey entail? Let’s explore further.

From NOI to Provincial Nomination

You must maintain a valid profile in Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s (IRCC’s) Express Entry system to be eligible for provincial nomination from Ontario.

Upon receiving a Notification of Interest from Ontario, you are invited to apply for provincial nomination for permanent residence. You must then submit your nomination application online through the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) e-filing portal.

Legal Status and Application Requirements

If you’re residing in Canada at the time of application, you must have legal status in the country. However, if you have pending applications to renew or extend your temporary status, you’re considered to be in ‘maintained status’ (previously known as implied status) and may still apply. You must have maintained legal status in Canada throughout your qualifying period of work experience for the Canadian Experience Class.

Ensuring a complete application is essential, as failure to meet the minimum eligibility requirements may lead to ineligibility.

Obligatory photo with the sign TORONTO when you visit. You can skate here in the winter. Nathan Philips Square, Toronto, Ontario.

Achieving Permanent Residence Through the Stream

Securing permanent residence via the French Speaking Skilled Worker Stream is indeed a significant accomplishment. Once you receive a provincial nomination, your Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score increases by 600 points, practically ensuring an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residence.

Let’s examine this process in more detail.

The Importance of a Job Offer or Ongoing Employment

A job offer is a valuable asset, even though it’s not a mandatory requirement for eligibility in the Ontario Express Entry French-Speaking Skilled Worker stream. Having ongoing employment in Ontario or a job offer is a positive indicator of your intention to live and work in Ontario. In addition, it could give you extra points for Express Entry.

The OINP and IRCC

The OINP and IRCC collaborate to ensure nominees are selected based on local economic needs, while IRCC makes the final decision on permanent residence applications. IRCC retains full authority to make final decisions on permanent residence applications, using criteria that cover security, criminality, and health, even for candidates holding a Provincial Nominee Certificate. If you are nominated for the OINP, you must ensure that your Express Entry application is complete and error-free, since it could still be rejected.

The Economic Impact of French Speaking Skilled Workers

French-speaking skilled workers are not just an addition to Ontario’s labor force; they are a significant asset for economic development. The Ontario government has developed a Francophone Economic Development Strategy recognizing the Francophonie as a significant asset for economic development. The strategy promotes:

  • Francophone entrepreneurship
  • Enhances the bilingual skilled workforce through education and training
  • Bolsters economic relations with Quebec and French-speaking jurisdictions

French-speaking workers fill critical roles in various economic sectors in Ontario, meeting labor market needs and contributing to the province’s diversity and competitiveness. Access to thorough information concerning the Francophone workforce and enterprises is key to the ongoing recovery and advancement of Ontario’s Francophone economy.

The number of francophone immigration to Canada (and outside Quebec) is set to triple over the next few years. In addition, IRCC has announced that they may introduce a whole new, separate program for francophones.

Alternatives for Bilingual Candidates: Other Immigration Streams

If you’re a bilingual candidate, you have multiple immigration routes at your disposal. The Federal Skilled Worker Program under Express Entry is one such option. It allows French-speaking skilled workers to immigrate to Canada, with language skills being a valuable factor in the selection process. To qualify for this program, candidates must have at least one year of continuous paid full-time work experience in specific NOC categories and meet a minimum language benchmark of CLB 7 or NCLC 7 in French or English.

Another option is the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), which targets French-speaking skilled workers with at least one year of Canadian work experience in NOC 0, A, or B occupations. For CEC, French-speaking candidates must show language proficiency of CLB 7 or higher in French and CLB 5 or higher in English, depending on the NOC category of the job.

You always need to be in the Express Entry pool with an active profile, but your score may be high enough to receive an Invitation to Apply without needing to apply to the OINP. This is specifically true if you are between the ages of 20 and 30, you have strong English language abilities and French language abilities, three years of work experience and at least a bachelor. This goes above the minimum eligibility requirements, but it means that you would have a strong CRS score.

We have lots of forests in Ontario, and going for a hike on the weekend is refreshing.

Preparing for Life in Ontario

Embarking on this journey necessitates thorough preparation for life in Ontario. The Canada Job Bank and services provided by the Société Économique de l’Ontariocan connect you with potential employers and support your economic development and employment opportunities.

If you are planning to work in a regulated profession, securing a license in Ontario is a necessary step. This requires additional steps and is not guaranteed by the ECA alone.

Other options: Francophone Mobility work permit

For French-speaking skilled workers, the Francophone Mobility work permit would allow you to obtain Canadian work experience. This work permit is designed to attract French-speaking skilled workers to Canada, providing yet another pathway to explore. However, this requires a job offer.

Summary

To wrap up, the Ontario Express Entry French Speaking Skilled Worker Stream offers a promising pathway for French-speaking skilled workers to make Ontario their new home. With a focus on language proficiency, education, and work experience, this stream presents a dynamic route for immigration. Whether you’re just starting your journey or looking for alternatives, remember, every step you take brings you closer to your dream of living and working in Ontario.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is OINP for French speakers?

OINP for French speakers is a stream of the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program that allows Ontario to nominate candidates in the federal Express Entry pool with French language skills for immigration to Ontario. You need to speak French and English to qualify, among other requirements.

What are the requirements for the French stream?

To be eligible for the French stream, you need to 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. This includes speaking, reading, writing, and listening abilities.

Is a job offer mandatory to apply for the French Speaking Skilled Worker Stream?

No, a job offer is not mandatory to apply for the French Speaking Skilled Worker Stream. This allows individuals to apply based on their language skills and work experience. However, if you speak French and an employer wants to hire you, they may be exempt from the Labour Market Impact Assessment since you may be able to apply for the Francophone Mobility Work Permit.

What is the role of the Express Entry profile in the application process?

You need to be in the Express Entry pool to receive a Notification of Interest from Ontario. This is a crucial part of the application process. Without being in the Express Entry pool, you will not be able to receive a Notification of Interest. This program uses the Express Entry pool to identify potential candidates.

How does language proficiency impact my CRS score?

Improving your language proficiency, especially in French, can earn you up to 50 additional points in the Express Entry system. This can significantly impact your CRS score.


Mistakes, errors and incomplete applications increase the risk of refusal. Review your application for only CAD$79.99. Learn more about ImmInspect.com!

Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog is general informational purposes and it is not legal advice. The information not a substitute for professional legal advice, and it may not be appropriate for you. Do not rely exclusively on this blog. Always conduct your own research and due diligence. While we strive to provide accurate and up-to-date information, immigration laws and regulations can vary and change over time. It is important to consult with a qualified immigration lawyer if you are unsure how to proceed.

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