Quebec’s Immigration Minister Kathleen Weil has announced that the province is preparing to re-examine its immigration policy, which has been in place for the past 25 years and is due for a major reform.
Weil has said that the system needs to change in the way it selects, welcomes and integrates immigrants in the labor market. Under discussion will be the existing relationship between newcomers and Quebec’s society, the selection process, importance of value systems, regionalization, French language requirements, preferred countries of origin, and recognizing foreign educational and training qualifications.
In the next few weeks there will be public consultation hearings where about 50 stakeholders will participate. The debate on these issues will eventually shape Quebec’s new immigration policy. Weil said she expected a wide-reaching debate and was “very open to everything that will be proposed.”
In addition, another consultation is expected to be held later this year to address two important aspects of immigration – the maximum number of immigrants to be permitted into Quebec every year, and the preferred countries of origin. At present, Quebec receives between 50,000 and 55,000 immigrants per year, mostly from African nations. Figures from 2009-2013 reveal that one of every five immigrants to Quebec belonged to Morocco or Algeria.
Quebec’s new model may be inspired by Ottawa, focusing more on the need to match skilled immigrants with jobs available. Ottawa changed its immigration process last year for attracting new immigrants by focusing mainly on filling jobs, and thereby requiring applicants to produce a “declaration of interest” in migrating to Canada along with proof of skills that matches employers’ requirements.
Weil has said that the search for suitable candidates will have to be “more competitive” than in the past. The consultations will include employers from different sectors in the province defining their workforce requirements and providing “profiles” of suitable workers. Moreover professional associations will be urged to recognize foreign educational qualifications.
Unemployment among immigrants in Quebec has been on the rise, a factor that will also play a role in the immigration reform. The year 2013 saw an unemployment rate of 11.6% for new immigrants in Quebec, about 4% higher than unemployment among the general population. The gap existed even though most of the newcomers were well educated, with statistics showing that 57% had at least 14 years of schooling.
Quebec’s new immigration policy and action plan will be produced following extensive consultations. Weil will be presenting a bill proposing to modernize the existing immigration law. Weil has claimed that the new bill would be “the last piece of this large reform”.
Language requirements is another topic that will need a re-examination by the provincial government, who will need to decide on the desired level of knowledge a candidate must have in the French language. Current statistics reveal that 43% of the immigrants arriving in Quebec do not know a word of French when they arrive. Weil believes that newcomers should have adequate knowledge of French required to work and integrate in Quebec’s society.
Despite recent reports to the contrary, Quebec still is facing an extreme nursing shortage, according to nurses in Quebec.
A recent study by the Canadian Institute for Health Information claims that the nursing population in the province has grown so much it has outpaced overall population and labour market growth.
However, nurses are raising concern that the report has been affected by an increasing number of workers in administrative fields and not in hospitals where nurses are most needed. In fact, numerous hospitals across Quebec are delaying surgeries and other complex procedures precisely because there are not enough working nurses.
The Quebec Order of Nurses has been issuing more nursing licenses than it has in decades, at over 3,000 per year over the last two years.
Yet that rise in numbers is having little effect on the day-to-day operations of hospitals, argues Nathan Friedland, a nurse in a busy MUHC surgical ward. Friedland says that many nurses today are able to build entire careers outside of hospitals, ICUs and surgical wards – which are oftentimes the most challenging working environments for nurses.
“When one finally becomes a nurse, no one tells you where you have to work,” says Friedland in a recent letter to the Montreal Gazette, adding that less nurses are working in hospitals today. “Because of burnout, fatigue and good old stress, many nurses must call in sick from time to time, forcing managers to try and find someone to replace them. Most of the time, they are unsuccessful, and if it is that hospital’s policy not to use agency nurses to replace the sick call, the only alternative is to give more patients to each nurse.”
The Quebec Health Department estimates a shortage of approximately 4,000 nurses per year over the next three years. Extra labour pressures will be felt as Quebec continues to build and expand health care facilities. There are currently two mega-hospital construction projects underway in the city of Montreal alone.
Source: Montreal Gazette
The Quebec government selects business people, entrepreneurs and high net worth individuals wishing to become Canadian permanent residents and settle in the province.
Candidates may be eligible to apply under one of three business immigration categories:
For an in-depth review of Quebec immigration policy, read Attorney Colin R. Singer’s article published in Canada’s Immigration and Citizenship Bulletin:
The Quebec government continues to promote the Quebec Immigrant Investor Program. The three primary conditions to be eligible under the program are:
- Demonstrate a personal net worth of at least $1.6 million legally acquired through conducting business or holding a high-level management position in a private company, government or NGO.
a) Having owned and operated a business for two years in the previous five years, OR
b) Having held a high level management position for two years in the previous five years in a private company, government or NGO.
- Invest $800,000 in a passive government guaranteed investment for a period of five years and receive no interest. Applicants may finance their investment and liquidate only $180,000 to $220,000 into a government approved financing program for five years and receive no return of capital.
Every year, the government places numerical and territorial quotas on applications.
Complete our Free Assessment to determine whether you qualify for immigration to Canada under the Quebec Immigrant Investor Program.
The Quebec Immigrant Entrepreneur Program aims to recruit individuals who have the skills and experience to operate a business in the province. The primary conditions to apply are:
- Demonstrate a legally acquired personal net worth of at least $300,000.
- Demonstrate significant ownership and day to day senior management of a successful business for two years in the previous five years.
- Commit to investing a minimum of $100,000 in establishing, purchasing or expanding a business or entering into a successful partnership and retaining at least 25 per cent ownership interest.
- Commit to creating at least one full time job for a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.
Applicants are also evaluated according to various selection factors and must obtain a minimum number of points based on their education, work experience, age, language proficiency, business plan, and ties to Quebec.
Every year, the government accepts a limited number of applications in the entrepreneur category.
Complete our Free Assessment to determine whether you qualify for immigration to Canada as a Quebec Immigrant Entrepreneur Program.
To qualify under the Quebec Self-Employed Program, applicants must meet the following conditions that differentiates them from the Quebec Skilled Worker Program.
- Have two years of applicable experience.
- Possess a personal net worth of $100,000.
- Have sufficient settlement funds to support themselves and their family.
- Work in a profession defined in the National Occupational Classification. Prospective applicants must also meet licensing requirements for their profession.
Like skilled workers, a self-employed applicant is assessed on nine factors and must obtain sufficient points in order to qualify.
Complete our Free Assessment to determine whether you qualify for immigration to Canada via the Quebec Self-Employed Program.
The Province of Quebec administers its own immigration programs with selection criteria that are distinct and more predictable from those of federal and other provincial immigration programs.
Foreign nationals wishing to settle permanently in Quebec must undergo a two-step immigration process.
- They must be selected by the Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Diversité et de l’Inclusion (MIDI), Quebec’s immigration authority. Selected applicants will receive a Quebec Certificat de Sélection (CSQ).
- An approved CSQ holder must file an application with Canadian federal immigration authorities. The federal government’s role in evaluating a Quebec application for permanent residence is mainly limited to issues of health and criminality.
All of the provinces and 3 territories have their own provincial immigration programs (known as Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP)), in order to promote immigration policies suited to a province’s economic priorities. As a result, the provinces are receiving an increasing role in the selection of economic immigrants. In 2015, approximately 110,000 economic immigrants were nominated or selected by the provinces, with the Province of Quebec accounting for another 30,000 applicants.
Applying for admission to Canada as a permanent resident under a provincial program will follow a 2-stage process. Applicants who receive PNP nomination can then apply for permanent residence.
In some instances, persons who are otherwise not qualified for admission under one of the Federal programs, may qualify for admission to Canada under a PNP. Some candidates may also qualify for a temporary work permit in the interim, allowing for early entry to Canada for the applicant and their accompanying dependants.
In 2016 and for the foreseeable future, the numbers of immigrants to be granted permanent residence under a PNP or selected by the Province of Quebec is expected to increase.
However, as is the case with most large provincial immigration programs in Canada, the issue of processing delays continues to play an important issue. Quite simply, Canada as a destination attracts considerable interest which far surpasses the processing capacity of immigration programs.
Applying for admission to Canada as a permanent resident will follow a different and generally, far more expedited process (9-15 months in most cases) if the application is approved under a PNP compared to the federal skilled worker program. In some instances persons who are otherwise not qualified for admission under one of the Federal programs, may qualify for admission to Canada under a PNP and may even qualify for a temporary work permit in the interim, allowing for early entry to Canada for the applicant and their accompanying dependants.
Provincial Nominee Program by Province / Territory:
|British Columbia||Manitoba||New Brunswick||Newfoundland and Labrador|
|Alberta||Ontario||Nova Scotia||Northwest Territories|
|Saskatchewan||Quebec||Prince Edward Island||Yukon|
Here is how the provincial programs typically work. Qualified employers nominate a prospective worker under an expedited process which, once approved by the province, enables an application for permanent residence to proceed under a processing stream that completely bypasses the lengthy federal immigration selection process. At the initial stages, qualified employer-sponsored applicants could receive temporary, renewable, work permits, processed at missions outside Canada, or in certain cases, at ports of entry, while their applications for permanent admission are processed by the provincial authorities and thereafter by the federal authorities for medical and security screening. In many instances, applicants can conclude these formalities without ever having to actually return to their former place of habitual residence.
The skilled worker based PNP’s with the exception of Quebec, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, generally require an employer to sponsor the application for admission to Canada. Without a government approved employer sponsorship, the application will either not be approved, or will be routinely passed over in favour of applications with an employer sponsored approval.
To qualify as a sponsoring employer, employers under most of the PNP’s must demonstrate sufficient efforts to hire local Canadians and offer competitive terms and conditions of employment that are relevant to a particular occupation. Between provinces, variations exist in the terms and conditions of employment to qualify to sponsor a foreign worker for an occupation.
To qualify as a sponsored employee under PNP, the position being filled must generally conform to a National Occupation Classification skill level of O, A, B; or alternatively, must meet the terms of a particular pilot project designed for a specific critical skill shortage identified by the province. Pilot programs within the provinces are designed for low skilled workers and are limited in scope. Most of the provinces have variations of pilot projects for low skilled occupations.
In many instances persons who are qualified for admission to Canada under a PNP may also qualify for admission under a temporary work permit in the interim, allowing for early entry to Canada for the applicant and their accompanying dependants.
Under all of the PNP’s, it is important to first assess the advantages of either commencing the process with a work permit, or proceeding straight away under PNP. Work permits issued under the low skilled occupations are limited to 24 months duration and generally could not be extended under current rules. Work permits issued for skilled workers can be extended for 4 to 7 years depending on circumstances. Discussions between the provinces and the Federal government have resulted in the “Pilot project for workers with lower levels of formal training” which allows for extensions of work permits issued under the low skilled occupations.
Clearly, this is an area where ongoing involvement, experience and familiarity with each of the programs, the specific industries and the relevant issues, is a major advantage to a prospective applicant.
The Canadian government grants permanent residence visas to members of the Family Class and the Economic Class. The Economic Class primarily comprises of professionals and skilled workers under the skilled worker class, the Quebec skilled worker class and the provincial nominee class as well as business immigrants.
Using a point system, an applicant is assessed under the federal skilled worker class according to various factors that will indicate whether there is a strong likelihood that the applicant and dependents will successfully establish in Canada. Ideal applicants under the skilled worker class will possess employment skills and experience compatible with occupations “open” to prospective immigrants to Canada. The selection rules particularly favour applicants with government approved job offers in Canada.
Under the Quebec skilled worker class and the provincial nominee class, applicants may become permanent residents on the basis of their proven ability to become economically established in Canada, in accordance with immigration programs and selection criteria administered by Quebec or the provinces.
Canada also admits immigrants under the Business Immigration program which comprises three sub-categories including Investors, Entrepreneurs and the Self-Employed.
The Investor class is point based and confers permanent residence upon applicants who demonstrate an ability to become economically established in Canada on the basis of their business or management experience and personal net worth of at least $1,600,000. Approval is contingent upon the investor undertaking to commit an irrevocable, passive, non-interest bearing five-year investment of $800,000 in a government guaranteed investment fund. Under applicable programs, applicants can obtain financing and receive legal security on their investment.The Canadian government has placed a temporary hold on applications in this class.
The Entrepreneur class is point based and confers permanent residence upon applicants who demonstrate an ability to become economically established in Canada on the basis of their business experience and high personal net worth. Approval is contingent upon the entrepreneur undertaking to invest and become involved in the active management of a qualifying business operated in Canada that will contribute to the economy and create employment. The Canadian government has placed a temporary hold on applications in this class.
The Self Employed class is also point based and refers to applicants who have relevant experience as well as the intention and the ability to create their own employment and make a significant contribution to the cultural, artistic or athletic life of Canada, or to create their own employment by purchasing and managing a farm in Canada.
The Quebec government manages its own immigration programs providing for skilled worker and business class selection rules.
Under the federal family class, current sponsorship programs typically promote the reunion in Canada of Canadian citizens and permanent residents with their close relatives including a spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner 16 years of age or older, an unmarried dependent child under the age of 22, a parent or grandparent, and a brother, sister, nephew, niece, grandchild who is an orphan, unmarried and under 18 years of age or any other relative where the sponsor has none of the above relatives or family members, in Canada or abroad. There is a temporary pause on the sponsorship of parents and grandparents for permanent residents. Instead, eligible candidates can apply forthe long term visitor Parents and Grandparents Super Visa.
Interested employers: Kindly contact us here to receive further information.
Interested candidates: Find out whether you qualify to Canada by completing our free on-line evaluation. We will provide you with our evaluation within 1-2 business days.