The Quebec Government is set to wipe clear its current backlog of immigration visa applications in order to make a host of changes to the province’s immigration laws.
Should this happen, it would mean throwing out a backlog of 18,000 applications from skilled workers who have already applied to come to Quebec.
The new immigration laws would place added emphasis on French language skills and regional labour needs.
“We want to give the chance for anybody from anywhere around the world to come to Quebec, but what we say is: come work in Quebec, but you will have to learn French and have the knowledge of Quebec values to be there forever,” said Quebec’s Immigration Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette during a news conference yesterday.
He described Quebec’s current system as first come, first served, instead of being based on the needs of the labour market, but likened the new program as being similar to internet dating site Tinder. “Now we are changing that. We are taking the profile of the candidate with the jobs that we need. So we make a match,” he explained.
Jolin-Barrette tabled the new Immigration Bill (Bill 9) yesterday. As well as including an amendment to the Quebec Immigration Act to ‘clarify’ its goals, including ensuring that immigrants learn French, the Bill also gives the immigration minister the power to impose ‘conditions’ on foreign nationals seeking permanent residency status. Such conditions could include checks that that they are meeting, among other things, regional labour needs, as well as the province’s linguistic, social or economic integration requirements.
The Quebec Government has promised that any current applicants who have their applications returned will be fully reimbursed. Some applicants first applied for their visas in 2005!
Article published 8th February 2019