May 18, 2019 – Fewer Quebec Skilled Worker applications are being processed and at a significantly lower success rate than before a recent injunction forced the Quebec immigration ministry (MIDI) to resume processing files, new figures show.
April saw MIDI officials process 727 applications with 15 per cent of them successful. In the month before there were 571 cases processed at a success rate of 18 per cent.
Quebec Superior Court Judge Frédéric Bachand, who imposed the injunction, highlighted in his judgement that MIDI was able to process between 1,000 and 2,000 applications per month, with a success rate in the region of 50 per cent in the last three years.
Quebec Skilled Worker Backlog
|Number of pending applications||18,000||45,000+|
|How many working/studying in Quebec||3,700||9,250|
|Number of applications concluded monthly 2015||2,000||5,000|
|Number of applications accepted monthly 2015||1000||2,500|
Immigration Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette has previously indicated a processing rate of 600 files per month with a refusal rate that could reach 50 per cent.
The figures are significant because the Coalition Avenir Quebec government wants to cancel 18,000 pending Quebec Skilled Worker applications and force candidates to re-apply under the new Quebec Expression of Interest system.
The provincial government tried to stop processing files when it tabled Bill 9 in February, effectively adopting the legislation before it had been voted into law.
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However, a February 25 injunction forced MIDI to continue processing applications.
Between February 25 and March 25, 102 of 571 processed files were successful. During April, 111 out of 727 processed files received favourable decisions.
Those accepted receive a Quebec Selection Certificate which is required by the federal government for candidates to receive permanent residence, after medical and criminal record checks have been completed.
Quebec Skilled Worker candidates are scored against a selection grid based on their age, education, work experience and language knowledge.
Bill 9 is expected to be voted into law in June, although it is currently slowly making its way through the parliamentary committee study phase.
Drop In Quebec Immigration Levels
The CAQ has pushed ahead with a campaign promise to reduce immigration targets by 20 per cent in 2019, from 50,000 newcomers to 40,000.
Provincial officials say the French-speaking province needs to improve its services for integration before the number can begin to increase.
Experts say the decision to cut immigration is playing to the fears of some Quebec people.
It means that Quebec employers looking to hire skilled workers can expect little help from the immigration system until after the June 2019 vote.
Thousands of profiles have already been registered for the Quebec Expression of Interest system, which will operate in a similar way to Express Entry.
Candidates submit profiles into an Expression of Interest bank, with the best-scoring profiles invited to apply for immigration through the Quebec Skilled Worker Program.
Research by an economic research organization questions the arguments behind the CAQ’s decision to reduce Quebec immigration and cancel existing applications.
Watch: How Bill 9 Court Decision Affects Employers and Applicants to Quebec
The Institut de recherche et d’informations socio-économiques (IRIS) study concluded Quebec immigrant employment rates were increasing, immigrant unemployment had fallen sharply, education and language ability were high and retention rates excellent.
Quebec ranks as one of the leading provinces in Canada when it comes to immigrant retention five years after arrival.
The immigrant unemployment rate fell from nearly 13 per cent in 2009 to under 7 per cent in 2018, with the province’s employment rate for immigrants higher than Ontario last year.
Quebec’s immigrants are better-educated than the Canada-born population, and the number of immigrants with advanced French-language skills on arrival is increasing, the IRIS research shows.
The study was based on data from Statistics Canada and the Quebec government.
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