Permanent immigration to get easier for French and English speakers, those with Canadian siblings

In an effort to attract more skilled foreign talent, Canada is making it easier for applicants with siblings in Canada and those who are bilingual in French and English to immigrate permanently. As of June 6, 2017, qualifying applicants will receive an advantage in Express Entry, Canada’s online system for inviting immigrants to apply for permanent residence in Canada.

Canada’s Express Entry system assigns a points ranking to foreign nationals interested in coming to Canada. Draws occur at regular intervals based on points. Competition to come to Canada is steep, and the points score is based on age, language ability, Canadian and foreign work experience, and numerous other factors. Applicants who want to come to Canada are always seeking ways to improve their score, whether improving their language ability, undertaking additional education, or obtaining a job offer.

Applicants with strong French and English skills will now receive a significant advantage in Express Entry: up to additional 30 points. French-speaking individuals moving to provinces other than Quebec have been able to obtain temporary immigration for the last year under the Mobilité francophone program, which allows for up to two year work permits. However, many of those applicants now have the option of applying for permanent residence, and setting themselves apart from others in the Express Entry pool with the benefit of these new points systems.

Those applicants with Canadian or permanent resident siblings will also receive an advantage of 15 points, provided the sibling is at least 18 years old and lives in Canada.

These additional changes will result in numerous applicants being invited to apply to Canada’s permanent immigration programs. It will also aid employers in hanging on to key foreign talent, and boost the francophone population of Canada.

The changes are welcome. Family reunification is one of the key goals of Canada’s immigration legislation. The provision of points for siblings is a recognition of the crucial role that family plays in the success of a new immigrant, and of that new immigrant’s chance of remaining in Canada after obtaining permanent resident status.

This isn’t the first time Express Entry points have changed. In November 2016, applicants with Canadian post-secondary education obtained a between 15 and 30 point bonus and those senior executives and others with a more than one year job offer a between 50 and 200 point bonus. These points benefits remain in place, and benefit graduates, NAFTA professionals, and intra-company transferees.

For more information on Express Entry and Canada’s immigration programs, both temporary, permanent, and family, contact a member of our Immigration Practice Group.