Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is now taking applications for open work permits from skilled workers in foreign countries who already have nomination certificates from Quebec and want to work in the francophone province.
The open work permits to be given out through the International Mobility Program Plus (IMP+) will allow applicants for permanent residency in Quebec to work for almost any employer while awaiting final decisions on their permanent residency applications from Ottawa.
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“As Canada’s economy continues to grow and recover from the pandemic, addressing the labour market challenges faced by employers is a top priority,” says Immigration Minister Sean Fraser.
“We recognize that labour shortages are particularly critical for many sectors in Quebec, and the IMP+ initiative will speed up the arrival of skilled workers to the province and help newcomers quickly settle into their new communities.”
Open Work Permits For Skilled Workers In Quebec Good For Three Years
Applicants need to meet the following criteria to qualify for a province-restricted, open work permit through the IMP+:
- be living outside of Quebec when they apply;
- hold a Quebec Selection Certificate (CSQ) that proves they have been selected for permanent residence through the regular Skilled Worker program or the permanent immigration pilot program for workers in the artificial intelligence, information technologies and visual effects sectors;
- have received an IMP+ letter of invitation from Quebec’s Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration (MIFI), and;
- submit a complete application for a work permit, including the applicable fees.
These open work permits are good for up to three years. Study permits and open work permits are also available to accompanying family members.
Until now, Quebec-selected skilled workers from abroad had to wait until their permanent residence application was approved before they could begin living and working in the province.
With the IMP+ work permit, an applicant who has been selected for permanent residence by Quebec, but who currently lives elsewhere, can move to the province and begin working and getting settled sooner.
Up To 14,700 Applications For Open Work Permits
The number of applications for the IMP+ open work permits is capped at 14,700 for this year because of the large number of Quebec selection certificates handed out in the past few years.
Starting next year, the annual application intake will be capped at 7,350.
The latest move to allow skilled workers outside the province to apply for these IMP+ open work permits comes about nine months after the IRCC extended the eligibility for bridging open work permits for foreign skilled workers already in Quebec who had applied for permanent residence.
The IMP+ targets both:
- workers with experience in a high-priority economic sector or a profession facing a labour shortage in Quebec, and;
- those workers who already have a job offer with a Quebec employer where the job offer has been approved by MIFI.
Under the International Mobility Program, which is a part of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, Canadian employers are allowed to hire foreign workers on a Canada work permit without the need for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).
Bullish on immigration, Quebec sees the arrival of workers from other countries, either through permanent or temporary immigration programs, as vital to solving its acute labour shortages and has taken steps to ensure the safety of its temporary workers.
Earlier this month, provincial Immigration Minister Jean Boulet announced inspectors to ensure the health and safety of temporary foreign workers are being deployed throughout Quebec, focusing on six sectors of the economy,
Quebec Beefing Up Workplace Health And Safety For Temporary Foreign Workers
“Temporary foreign workers no longer work only in agriculture. With the relaxation of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, the government of Quebec needed to improve the health and safety resources available to temporary foreign workers and their employers,” said Boulet.
“Deploying this squad (of health and safety inspectors) will raise awareness in workplaces about the rights and obligations of workers and their employers.”
Under that initiative, the province’s health and safety commission, the Commission des Normes, de l’Équité, de la Santé et de la Sécurité du Travail (CNESST), is also going to offer consulting services to the employers of temporary foreign workers to help them meet their obligations.
“Temporary foreign workers are important to help meet the challenges posed by the labour shortages and so it is vital that all efforts be made to ensure they are being well treated,” said Boulet.
Quebec has had a squad of workplace health and safety inspectors for temporary foreign workers in the agricultural sector for the last three years, since 2019, because they then comprised the lion’s share of temporary foreign workers in the province.
Under the expanded version of the program, the new squad of health and safety inspectors, which will be fully operational by next spring, will offer services throughout the year to several additional sectors in addition to agriculture, including:
- food processing, and;
The expanded squad of public health and safety inspectors will operate on two fronts. These inspectors will hold free information sessions, including some in Spanish, about health and safety standards in the workplace for temporary foreign workers and their employers in these regions of the province, the:
- Mauricie and Centre-du-Québec;
- Laurentides, and;
The inspectors will also offer personalized consulting to employers to help them understand their responsibilities towards temporary foreign workers.