According to Canada's recently unveiled Immigration Levels Plan for 2024-2026, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) aims to embrace 31,500 French-speaking permanent residents (PRs) in 2025, followed by an increased target of 36,000 newcomers under the same category in 2026.
Published annually by Canada's immigration department, the Immigration Levels Plan serves as a blueprint determining the number of new PRs to be admitted into the country for each of the upcoming three years. It categorizes PR targets based on Canada's three primary immigration classes: economic, family, and refugee/humanitarian.
Significantly, the current year's plan anticipates Canada maintaining a consistent number of new permanent residents in both 2025 and 2026, with an unaltered overall admissions target of 500,000 new PRs for both years.
However, upon closer examination of the figures, it becomes evident that one specific immigration category is projected to experience an increase in admissions over the final two years outlined in this year's plan.
Which immigration category will experience an increase in admissions targets between 2025 and 2026?
In 2026, the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has outlined a growth in the admissions target for the category of "overall French-speaking Permanent Resident Admissions outside Quebec*," marking an increase of 4,500 compared to the 2025 target.
*It is crucial to emphasize the distinction related to admissions outside Quebec, underscoring that Quebec maintains its independent immigration rules, programs, and policies separate from the rest of Canada.
This stands out as the sole admissions category where the specified target rises in the concluding two years of the Immigration Levels Plan. While the overall admissions target remains constant at 500,000 between 2025 and 2026, nearly all other designated targets are anticipated to stay unchanged during this period.
Conversely, the only admissions category expected to witness a decline in its admissions target from 2025 to 2026 is the "Economic Pilots" category. This category encompasses three immigration pathways: the Agri-Food Pilot, Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot, and Economic Mobility Pathways Project. The admissions target for this category is projected to decrease from 14,750 in 2025 to 13,750 in 2026.
What motivates IRCC to increase the number of French-speaking Permanent Resident (PR) admissions outside Quebec?
The rationale behind the augmented admissions target for overall French-speaking PRs can be traced to Canada's recent strategic report titled "An Immigration System for Canada's Future." This comprehensive report, jointly released by IRCC and the Canadian government, presents findings and an action plan stemming from an extensive consultation process with various stakeholders. Within the report, IRCC outlines its objective to enhance "the vitality of Francophone minority communities," extending beyond Quebec.
IRCC states that this aspect of its action plan aligns with the department's goal to formulate a "comprehensive and coordinated growth plan" for immigration in Canada, involving active support for communities. Specifically, IRCC asserts that its emphasis on increasing French-speaking immigration is a pivotal component of exploring "opportunities to enhance regional immigration" and actively "supporting welcoming communities across Canada."
Specifically, IRCC has outlined a set of actions aimed at achieving this objective:
- Development of a New Francophone Immigration Policy: IRCC intends to create a new policy focused on "restoring and increasing the demographic weight" of Francophone minority communities throughout Canada.
- Enhanced Promotion and Selection Efforts: The department plans to intensify efforts in promoting and selecting French-speaking Permanent Residents (PRs), aiming to bolster their representation in the immigration landscape.
- Support for Settlement and Integration: IRCC is committed to supporting the settlement and integration of French-speaking immigrants within Francophone minority communities, recognizing the importance of fostering a sense of belonging and community.
- Establishment of Ambitious yet Attainable Targets: IRCC aims to set ambitious yet realistic targets for increasing Francophone PR admissions continuously, demonstrating a commitment to the sustained growth of French-language immigration.
Collectively, these measures elucidate the rationale behind the anticipated increase in the admissions target for this category of new PRs, aligning with Canada's overarching goal of expanding and fortifying French-language immigration across the country.
IRCC's Recent Achievements in Boosting Francophone Immigration Across Canada
In November of this year, Immigration Minister Marc Miller underscored Canada's commitment to Francophone immigration during National Francophone Immigration Week. Miller emphasized the significance of this week as an opportunity to recognize the value of Francophone immigration to Canada. He expressed appreciation for the remarkable contributions of French-speaking immigrants to the country's cultural, demographic, and economic vibrancy.
Further, in April of the same year, Canada unveiled its Action Plan for Official Languages 2023-2028, outlining the immigration department's initiatives to secure funding for the advancement of official languages within the country.
As part of this comprehensive plan, IRCC has committed $18.5 million to "promote and build recruitment support for Francophone immigration" both domestically and internationally, spanning regions such as Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and the Americas. Additionally, a significant allocation of $50 million is earmarked to strengthen the Francophone integration pathway. This includes initiatives to facilitate settlement and integration for newcomers to Canada and enhance the reception capabilities of Francophone minority communities.
These upcoming endeavors are designed to complement existing initiatives aimed at augmenting Francophone immigration across Canada. Notably, these efforts encompass improvements in how Francophone immigrants benefit from the Express Entry application management system, applicable to both standard Express Entry draws and IRCC's innovative category-based selection system.
Specifically, candidates in the Express Entry system who possess proficiency in the French language can accrue additional Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) points. This augmentation enhances their prospects of receiving an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for Canadian permanent residence during a standard draw.
Moreover, under IRCC's recently introduced category-based draw system, one of the six designated categories is exclusively reserved for immigration candidates with proficiency in the French language. This implies that eligible candidates with French-language skills can receive an Express Entry ITA through a distinct draw, in addition to the conventional draws that prioritize a candidate's CRS score.
Crucially, these efforts have allowed Canada's immigration department to effectively boost immigration to Francophone minority communities across the country, excluding Quebec. This includes achieving their targeted Francophone immigration goal of settling 4.4% of French-speaking immigrants outside Quebec in 2022, with over 16,300 new immigrants welcomed into such communities.
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