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On March 6, Immigration Minister Marc Miller announced two pilots to promote immigration to rural and northern communities, as well as improve immigration for French speakers.

Watch the announcement of March 6, 2024

From the northern, bilingual city of Sudbury, Ontairo, Miller announced that the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP) will become a permanent program.

The announcement comes on the heels of the success of RNIP and how since its creation in 2019 has played a critical role in supporting northern and rural economies.

The pilot is currently accepting applications until August, 2024. The new RNIP program will build on the lessons learned from the pilot, Miller said.

In addition, two new pilots that are similar to the RNIP and expanded to francophone communities will be launched this fall. They are called the Rural Community Immigration Pilot and the Francophone Community Immigration Pilot.

Similar to the RNIP, communities will be able to apply to participate in these pilots starting this spring.

“Rural and northern communities face unique economic and demographic challenges,” Miller said in a media release.

“However, through the RNIP, rural communities have been able to attract and retain skilled workers that they’ve needed for years to ensure their economic growth. That is why we will make RNIP a permanent program, and why we are introducing these two new pilot programs. We’ll continue to work closely with these communities, as we work to connect businesses with the skilled workers they need to thrive.”

The announcement of the new measure for francophone communities is yet another incentive to attract more French-speaking immigrants to Canada.

Check out our article: How French can help you immigrate to Canada

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Canda adopting new immigration strategy for French speakers

In 2022 and again in 2023, IRCC met a target of 4.4 percent of French-speaking immigrants outside Quebec.

However, community members and advocates for the French language in Canada, asserted that it was not enough to address the decline of French in Canada.

As a result, IRCC is adopting a new Policy on Francophone Immigration. This five-year approach aims to grow Canada’s francophone immigration outside of Quebec.

The policy contains five action items that are informed by stakeholders, communities, and the provinces and territories.

The five action items are:

  • applying a “francophone lens” to immigration policy and planning
  • increasing admission targets for francophone immigrants outside Quebec
  • improve the promotion, selection, and integration of French-speakers to Canada
  • collaborating with multiple stakeholders to ensure measures are working effectively
  • optimize data and research to inform decisions on francophone immigration

The new policy for French speakers applies to both permanent and temporary residents.

How does Canada define a “french-speaking” immigrant?

This definition is significant, as it determines whether someone may immigrate through a pathway for French speakers or not.

Currently, and with the agreement of community stakeholders, IRCC considers a French-speaking immigrant to be any newcomer who declares knowledge of “French only” as their official language; or knowledge of “French and English” as their official languages, as well as French as the official language in which they are most at ease.

Economic immigration pathways for French speakers tend to have a language score requirement, which you demonstrate by providing the results of an approved language test.

What is an immigration pilot vs an immigration program

Before Canada creates new immigration programs, it tests them out by creating pilot programs. These pilot programs accept no more than 2,750 applications per year for no longer than five years, in accordance with Canadian immigration law.

After the five-year period, the pilot will either be discontinued or become a permanent Canadian immigration program. For example, in 2022, the Atlantic Immigration Pilot became a permanent immigration program, the Atlantic Immigration Program. Now that it has graduated to a permanent program, it is accepting upwards of 6,500 new immigrants per year.

The new pilots will join the existing list of economic immigration pilots which include Caregivers; Agri-Food Pilot; and Economic Mobility Pathways Project. The RNIP, which is currently a pilot, will become a permanent program and will no longer be bound to the limit of 2,750 applications per year.

If you’re interested in moving to Canada but not sure which program you may be eligible for, check your eligibility for more than 20 Canadian immigration programs by taking Moving2Canada’s free Canada Immigration Quiz.

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Citation "New immigration pilot for French speakers, RNIP to become permanent program." Moving2Canada. . Copy for Citation

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