Tens of thousands of Quebec permanent residents whose applications have been stalled due to lengthy approval delays are set to be eligible for open work permits.
Quebec’s provincial government and other francophone organizations have requested Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government to offer open work permits to these applicants, who are currently waiting up to three years for permanent residency.
“We are delighted that Quebec is now able to engage in the temporary open work permit program that is already in effect for economic immigrants in other provinces and territories,” said Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada, in French on Twitter.
“We are already in talks with (Quebec Immigration Minister Nadine) Girault… to make this happen,” the minister tweeted on Friday afternoon.
According to a news article by Radio Canada, the CBC’s French-language network, more than 51,000 temporary foreign employees have already been chosen by the provincial government and are awaiting permanent residency in Canada.
Earlier this month, Quebec’s immigration minister urged Ottawa to end the lengthy delays in application processing.
Delays are deemed ‘deplorable’ by Quebec’s immigration minister.
“It is deplorable that the waits for these immigrants – who have already been chosen by Quebec – to obtain permanent residency are so long,” Quebec Immigration Minister Nadine Girault tweeted in French.
The current processing period for applications for permanent residency in Quebec is more than two years, 27 months, compared to six months in the rest of the world.
And the situation is deteriorating rather than improving. The processing period for applications to Quebec in 2019 was 19 months.
The IRCC has previously acknowledged that it has delayed the processing of applications for permanent residency in Quebec. Initially, the federal immigration minister’s staff blamed the slowdown on a proposal for a moratorium on these applications.
However, the workers of Quebec’s former immigration minister, who was in office at the time, immediately refuted the accusation.
“Minister Jolin-Barrette never asked the federal government for a moratorium or a halt in the processing of eligible worker applications,” according to Marc-André Gosselin, the former provincial immigration minister’s deputy chief of staff.
Ottawa later acknowledged there was no such moratorium and suggested a misunderstanding because the Quebec paper was in French.
Quebec’s Immigration Minister denies that the province is to blame.
Ottawa then blamed the delays in approving applications for permanent residency in Quebec on the province’s immigration thresholds.
However, Quebec rejects the explanation as well.
“It is incorrect to say that the Quebec thresholds are the cause,” Girault tweeted on Friday. “Even though our thresholds were not met in 2020, the backlog and delays at the federal level are higher than ever.
“Let us collaborate constructively to overcome this situation that helps no one.”
Quebec is optimistic about immigration, investing $246 million in projects to attract and retain immigrants in its most recent budget.
“Attracting and retaining immigrants to our communities, especially those in outlying areas, enables businesses to expand as a result of these skilled workers and helps address labor shortages in many of our economic sectors,” Girault said.
“These investments announced by the Quebec government will enable us to put in place further steps to integrate immigrants better so they can fully contribute to our province’s growth and prosperity,” she said.
The funds will be used to help Quebec’s immigration department, the Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation, et de l’Intégration, develop its processes for better-recognizing immigrants’ international qualifications, recruiting immigrants to outlying regions, matching the need for immigration to the labor market needs, and improving services designed to incorporate these arrivals into Quebecois society.
The funds will also be used to expand French-language education services for refugees and draw more international students.
Quebec Allocates $130 Million for Credential Recognition
The majority of the funds – $130 million spread out over the next decade – will go to services that accept immigrants’ international qualifications.
Another $57 million in budgeted funds will be spent over the next two years on projects to entice immigrants to settle in areas of the province where labor is in short supply and assist them in integrating into those societies.
Quebec, Canada’s only francophone province, places a high value on the French language and plans to spend $50 million over the next two years teaching the language to immigrants and financially supporting them while they pursue French language studies.
In addition, the province intends to inject $9.1 million of the budgeted sum over the next three years through economic development agencies in Montreal, Quebec City, and Drummondville to attract international students.