Quebec pushing for immigration reform

The government of Quebec could move its skilled immigration programme in-line with the federal system, following the introduction of a new Bill in Parliament last week.

Quebec is the only Canadian province which operates its immigration programme completely independently of the federal system. However, Quebec’s skilled immigration programme has long been criticised for not bringing in the immigrants actually required by the province, and for lengthy visa processing times.

However, the introduction of Bill 77 last Wednesday proposes to reform the current immigration laws. If adopted, the draft law would make it possible for the province to implement a new immigration system – namely a similar model to that used by the federal government.

“Competition is fierce among immigration countries,” said Quebec’s Immigration Minister, Kathleen Weil. “Quebec’s competitiveness and attractiveness are being called into question in this race for strategic talents.”

Bill 77 proposes that the immigration system would no longer operate on a “first come, first serve” basis. Instead, people interested in immigrating to Quebec will need to fill out a declaration of interest, to help the government constitute a bank of candidates. The immigration department would then be responsible for choosing candidates best suited to Quebec’s needs.

Weil also stated that she will attempt to slash visa wait times, from the current duration of three years to closer to six months, to meet the market needs.

Quebec’s current immigration Act was adopted in 1968, and although it has undergone amendments in that time, it has never been totally reformed.

Should this Bill be passed, and the indications are that it will be, then the new model could be implemented early next year.

Article published 8th December 2015