07 Feb, 2019 Quebec poised to terminate 18,000 active QSW applications
On Thursday, February 7th, the French-speaking province of Quebec introduced a new bill proposing changes to the province’s immigration policy. If the bill is adopted, it will result in the termination of more than 18,000 active immigration applications submitted through the Quebec Skilled Worker (QSW) program.
Bill 9 – An Overview
The new bill, known as Bill 9, was introduced February 7th by Quebec’s immigration minister, Simon Jolin-Barrette. The bill proposes a number of changes to Quebec’s immigration policies designed to give the government more control over the selection and integration of immigrants. The bill paves the way for Quebec to prioritize immigration to rural regions of the province and to introduce a French-language test and Quebec values test for newcomers.
One of the most notable aspects of the proposed bill, is the decision to terminate a backlog QSW applications:
“An application filed with the Minister before 2 August 2018 under the Regular Skilled Worker Program is terminated if, on (insert the date of introduction of this bill), the Minister has not made a selection, refusal or rejection decision on the application.”
This provision will result in the termination of more than 18,000 applications. The bill states that terminated QSW applications will have their government processing fees refunded, but they have not stated how this refund would take place.
What does this mean for QSW?
Any person who has an active QSW application for a Certificat de selection du Quebec (CSQ) which was filed prior to August 2nd, 2018, will have their application terminated if a decision has not already been made.
- If an applicant has not received a request for documentation, or an intention to reject or refuse, their application will be among the many cancelled by the Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Diversité et de l’Inclusion (MIDI).
- If an applicant has received a request for documentation, or an intention to reject or refuse, it is unclear as to whether or not the application will be impacted.
- If an applicant has already received their CSQ, this change will not affect their immigration.
Applicants who have their applications terminated should be able to resubmit to the new QSW application system, pending they meet the eligibility criteria, but there is no guarantee they will be selected for immigration.
Please note that this bill has not yet been adopted, so the legislation has not yet come into effect.
When will we know more?
Minister Jolin-Barrette is expected to announce more details about Bill 9 later in the day on February 7th. The bill itself must continue through a series of debates and reviews until it will be voted on and either accepted into law or rejected.
Why did Quebec introduce Bill 9?
Quebec elected a new government, the Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ), in September 2018. The CAQ was elected on a platform to reduce immigration to the province by 20%. Additionally, the CAQ leader and the premiere of Quebec, Francois Legault, wants new immigrants to become proficient in French within three years of arrival in the province and to learn Quebec values. Bill 9 gives Legault’s government more control over immigration and would enable them to introduce Legault’s desired French testing and Quebec values test.
Clearing the backlog of QSW applications will allow the government to be highly selective of all new immigrants, fully enabling them to enact their immigration policy. That said, the cancellation of such a high number of applications, dating back as far as 2005, is being questioned by some experts as unethical.
Other Canadian Immigration Options
This bill only affects immigration in the Canadian province of Quebec. Skilled workers hoping to immigrate to Canada can still pursue immigration through the Express Entry system, or through one of Canada’s popular Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs).
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