March 5, 2019 – Opposition politicians in Quebec are planning to holding a rally against the provincial government’s plan to cancel 18,000 immigration applications.
Quebec Solidaire is calling for those affected by the decision already working in Canada to attended the event, on February 24 at Cégep Ahuntsic.
Experts and members of the public are also invited to attend, with the party hoping the event will help form a movement aimed at stopping the mass cancellation of Quebec immigration applications.
The move comes after the Coalition Avenir Quebec government tabled Bill 9 earlier in February, proposing to cancel existing applications under the Quebec Skilled Worker Program.
The decision would affect 18,000 immigration applications and 50,000 people.
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CAQ officials want candidates to reapply under the new Expression of Interest system, where profiles are selected based on how well they match Quebec’s labour market needs. The system is designed to operate in a similar way to the federal Express Entry system.
Launched in September 2018, the Arrima system already has 91,000 profiles registered, but no invitations to apply have been issued.
The tabling of Bill 9 comes as the CAQ is pushing ahead with a campaign promise to cut Quebec immigration in 2019, from a target of 50,000 to 40,000.
CAQ’s 2019 Quebec Immigration Levels Plan
The move to reduce immigration comes despite Quebec’s labour shortage, with an estimate 100,000 jobs unfilled in the French-speaking province.
Meanwhile, the federal government is aiming to increase national immigration to 350,000 newcomers per year by 2021, according to the levels plan published in October 2018.
The federal plan is to use immigration as one way of tackling Canada’s shrinking labour market, with Quebec at the forefront of increasing job vacancies.
The CAQ says it wants to reduce immigration temporarily so that the process of integrating new immigrants can be improved. Bill 9 will put a permanent end to thousands of applications.
With much of Quebec facing chronic labour shortages, opponents to the government’s policies say the province is in dire need of increased immigration, particularly in the Economic Class.
The use of retroactive legislation is a hallmark of Quebec Immigration policies. It used this legal tool in the past to raise criteria of pending applications, with retroactive effect. However, this is the first time it will completely cancel applications in order to deal with an unmanageable backlog of unprocessed applications.
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