Quebec to overhaul immigration system

The Quebec government has revealed a first major overhaul of its immigration system for 25 years.

Although full details of what these changes will entail are yet to be announced, speaking on Monday the province’s Immigration and Inclusion Minister, Kathleen Weil, stated that the changes would focus on attempting to cut down on delays and attracting more international students and temporary foreign workers.

The first focus, however, will be placed on tempting current overseas students and foreign workers to stay in the province permanently.

Under the new plans, prospective immigrants would fill out a declaration, explaining why they want to live in Quebec. Employment Quebec would also be more involved in helping to decide who can stay, based on employment needs.

There will also be money spent on improving the foreign credentials recognition process while French lessons will also be easier to access for new arrivals.

“People have a lot of choices right now and I think you’ve seen that there’s many European countries that are interesting to people, and the USA and the rest of Canada,” said Weil. “So we’re in that competition and we want to do as well, or better, than our competitors.”

Another key component of the new programme will be to significantly reduce visa processing times. The Quebec government wants to reduce the current immigration waiting time to six months from one-to-four years.

Minister Weil said Quebec will need 1.4 million new workers by 2022, and at least 18 per cent of them will have to come from immigration.

“The handicap we have is delays,” Ms. Weil said. “The job market is evolving constantly and we need to get better at meeting those needs.”

The new programme will be enacted over the next five years at a cost of CDN$42 million, with more details about the system set to be released in the spring.

Article by David Fuller