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Quebec: 18,000 applications will continue to be considered

As it is known, the government of the province of Quebec is going through difficult times due to its policies aimed at reducing immigration. Recall that the Coalition for the Future of Quebec Party (Coalition Avenir Québec), which came to power in the fall of 2018, announced a review of its immigration policy.

The party leaders did not deny the need to attract qualified specialists to Quebec due to the aging population, but they considered it appropriate to invite only those immigrants who “start off the plane” to work for the benefit of the provincial economy. The federal government has repeatedly expressed disagreement with such a decision, but due to Canadian laws, it didn’t really affect Québec’s decision. Provincial employers also took the side of Ottawa, who rightly pointed to a great shortage of workers, which is supported by current labor market figures which show more than 100,000 open vacancies.

The story of the reduction in the number of immigrants and the selection of only those candidates who already have an invitation from Quebec employers found its continuation a couple of weeks ago, when the Minister of Immigration in Quebec, Mr. Simon Jolin-Barrette, stated that the available inventory from 18132 applications under the Quebec Skilled Worker program, which he inherited, prevent him from implementing the new immigration policy of the ruling party. Then it was decided to “freeze” the consideration of these cases, up to the adoption of Bill No. 9, defining new criteria for considering applications for foreign professional candidates. This decision caused a squall of protests and resentment among both prospect immigrants, who had waited for years to have considered their cases, and immigration specialists – lawyers and consultants, who considered the decision of the Minister of Immigration as illegal.

Immigration lawyers filed a lawsuit with the Supreme Court of Quebec (Cour supérieure du Québec), demanding to cancel the decision of the Minister of Immigration and force the Ministry to resume consideration of applications under the Quebec Skilled Worker program until a new law is enacted. On February 25, 2019, the Court ruled in favor of the immigration lawyers suit and ordered the Quebec Ministry of Immigration to resume work on “frozen” cases. Judge Frédéric Bachand wrote in his decision that “the minister should act in accordance with the legislation in force, and not on the basis of the proposed legislative amendment”. This resolution will be valid until March 7, 2019 with the possibility of its extension.

Thus, according to the calculations of specialists, if the Immigration Ministry continues the consideration of cases, then by June 2019, when the adoption of draft law No. 9 is expected, of more than 18,000 applications in the inventory will be treated up to 2,000 applications with a positive decision. This will give much hope. At the same time, Mr. Jolin-Barrette said that he is ready to resume the work of the ministry on suspended files, however, he does not have the resources to speed up the process of handling cases and he does not plan to hire additional staff.

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