Quebec prepares to overhaul immigration system

The government of Quebec is preparing to follow the Canadian federal government’s lead and overhaul its current skilled immigration system.

Quebec is the only Canadian province which administers its own immigration programme and is completely separately from the federal system.

However, speaking to Canadian press over the weekend, the province’s Immigration Minister Kathleen Weil said the time has come for Quebec to re-examine its immigration mode, stating there would be a “big reform” of the system.

The province’s current immigration policy has been in place for 25 years, but Weil says that every aspect of the system will be up for debate over the coming weeks, from the number of immigrants welcomed annually; to the selection process and favoured countries of origin; to the importance of knowing French before arriving; to the recognition of training undertaken abroad, regionalisation, and the sharing of common values.

.At the start of this year, the federal government reformed its selection process for new skilled immigrants, with the focus now primarily on filling jobs.

Weil told the press that she wanted to appropriate that model. “[What] I want to arrive at is an immigration system based on the Canadian model,” she said.

The minister said she wanted a wide-reaching debate on the issues, and was “very open to everything that will be proposed.”

Fifty stakeholders are now expected to participate in public consultation hearings over the next few weeks to debate the future of the province’s immigration system.