Quebec cancels thousands of skilled worker applications

Quebec has passed new immigration legislation that will see thousands of pending skilled worker applications cancelled.

The province’s new immigration reforms were passed by the National Assembly over the weekend; a move which officially cancelled around 16,000 unprocessed applications to the Quebec Skilled Worker Program.

Known as Bill 9, the legislation was originally introduced in February and proposed the immediate termination of pending applications to the program submitted prior to 2nd August 2018. Initially, the pending applications numbered around 18,000, but a court order forced the government to continue processing the applications until the National Assembly voted on Bill 9 and around 2,000 applications were processed in the interim, of which 258 were approved.

The goal of the new legislation, according to the Quebec government says, is to ensure that immigrants to the province are better integrated and therefore better equipped to succeed in Quebec’s labour market.

“We are changing the immigration system in the public interest, because we have to make sure that we have immigration that is tied to the needs of the labour market,” said Quebec’s Immigration Minister, Simon Jolin-Barrette.

Jolin-Barrette argues that cancelling the backlogged applications was necessary given the Quebec Skilled Worker Program (QSWP)’s switch to an online Expression of Interest system last summer.

The applications in question were submitted when the QSWP operated on a ‘first-come, first-served’ basis, which the Minister has explained was not in touch with the actual needs of employers in the province.

The new online system allows Quebec to select candidates based on the details provided in their Expression of Interest, which are submitted electronically.

An Expressions of Interest details a candidate’s education, training, work experience and language abilities, among other factors.

Those whose applications have been cancelled can submit an Expression of Interest, Jolin-Barrette said

Quebec is the only Canadian province to completely govern its own immigration program, totally independently from the federal system.

Article published 19th June 2019