On June 1, 2012, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC“) released Operational Bulletin 429 (“OB 429“). OB 429 provides that francophones destined to a province other than Quebec who will be working in a high skilled occupation can receive two year significant benefit work permits. The benefit of a significant benefit work permit is that no Labour Market Opinion is required.
To qualify for the LMO exemption, applicants must:
- apply at a visa office outside Canada;
- have been recruited through Destination Canada or other events coordinated with the federal government and francophone minority communities;
- be going to work in an occupation which falls under National Occupation Classification 0, A or B;
- have French as his/her habitual language; and
- be destined to a province other than Quebec.
The legal justification for providing preferential treatment to francophones intending to work outside of Quebec is based on s. 3(1)(b) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (the “Act“), which states that one of the goals of Canada’s immigration system is:
(b) to enrich and strengthen the social and cultural fabric of Canadian society, while respecting the federal, bilingual and multicultural character of Canada;
Although there is no legal reason why this LMO exemption cannot also apply to anglophones seeking employment in Quebec, people awaiting an Operational Bulletin to this effect hopefully know how to hold their breath for a long time.