Quebec: a sharp turn in its immigration program
So, on June 16, 2019, the Minister of Immigration of Quebec, Mr. Jolin-Barrette, tweeted at 4:08 am that the National Assembly passed a new law on immigration. This was preceded by long weeks of battles, both inside Quebec parliament and on the pages of various media.
The key point that prompted the Government of François Legault to turn to the immigration law was the inefficient work of the immigration system and its isolation from the real needs of the provincial economy. According to the government, the previously existing system did not meet the objectives to develop remote Quebec regions and did not allow to bring to the province those specialists in whom labor market are needed. That is why one of the slogans of a political campaign of Mr. Legault was to decrease number of immigrants during the next 3-4 years from 50,000 to 40,000 in order to integrate them more successfully to the remote regions and stimulate the provincial labor market.
The adoption of the new law on immigration to the province of Quebec should lead to the following results:
1. The increase in the flow of immigrants to remote regions of Quebec
2. Priority to candidates selected by local employers.
3. Reduction of the average time for applications treatment from 36 months to 6 months
4. Improving the quality of programs aimed at adaptation and learning French
5. Tracking the fate of each new immigrant in terms of the success of its integration into Quebec society.
The fate of more than 18,000 applications that have been under consideration by the Quebec Ministry of Immigration since 2005 was a dramatic moment in this whole story. After coming to power, the new government immediately stated that it does not want and will not consider the candidates for immigration according to the old rules, who have largely discredited themselves. That temporary ban might last until the new immigration law was adapted by the QC parliament. A wave of protests led to a lawsuit against the government of Quebec and a court decision in favor of immigration candidates was pronounced. The court of Quebec ordered the Ministry of Immigration to continue to consider 18,000 applications inherited from the previous government.
However, the Minister of Immigration, although he promised to follow the court’s decision and continue the ministry’s work on the accumulated files, made a reservation that they would consider, as a matter of priority, the applications of those who had applied for Immigration to Quebec based on Quebec experience (work or study) and who are already physically present in the province possessing Study or Work permits. There were, according to Mr. Jolin-Barrette, about 4,000 files of that sort. During the period of winter-spring of 2019, about 2,000 applications were considered of those who are abroad Canada. By coincidence, as immigration specialists say, the level of approval of applications fell from the usual 40% to 10%.
The weak point of the new law is the question of the so-called “conditional permanent residence.” As conceived by the government of Mr. Legault, all candidates who received certificates of selection of Quebec in the category of Quebec Skilled Worker will be obliged, after three years of residence in Canada, to pass a test of the Québec values (something similar to the citizenship test) and confirm their knowledge of French at a level not lower than B2. In the case of failure, the province certificate of selection will be revoked, and after it, the status of permanent resident of Canada should be also revoked. However, as Mr. Legault shared in an interview to Radio Canada yesterday that federal authorities, from whom the final decision on granting the status of permanent resident depends, are not ready to accept such a situation and for now the Cabinet of Mr. Trudeau opposes the plans of Quebec.