quebec immigration

Quebec government releases details on upcoming three new permanent immigration pilot programs aimed at addressing labour shortages

The Government of Quebec has released details of three pilot permanent immigration programs that will be implemented in early 2021.

The draft regulation relating to the implementation of three new permanent immigration pilot programs was published on October 28, 2020 in the Gazette officielle du Québec.

Over the next 45 days, the government intends to gather comments on these programs before their official launch.

The three new permanent immigration pilot programs, already announced by the government earlier this year, are as follows:

  • the pilot program for orderlies;
  • the pilot program for workers in the artificial intelligence (AI), information technologies (IT) and visual effects sectors;
  • the pilot program for workers in food processing (FP).

In addition, the government announced major improvements to the application intake process for the Program for Refugees Abroad, or Collective sponsorship, as well as new regulations for the Self-Employed Worker Program and the Entrepreneur Program.

New pilot programs are being implemented to attract and retain the workforce

Through these new pilot programs, the government of Quebec aims to “attract and retain people whose skills meet the specific needs of the Quebec labour market” and to address labour shortages in three key areas. The three pilot programs will come into effect after a 45-day consultation period.

The pilot program for orderlies will allow up to 550 principal applicants per year to be selected to work as nurses aides and beneficiary attendants in Quebec. Accompanying family members will also receive Quebec Selection Certificates under this program.

The pilot program for workers in food processing will provide a pathway to permanent immigration for temporary foreign workers working in the food processing sector. It will also be a five-year program under which up to 550 eligible workers and their families will be selected each year.

The third pilot program covers the artificial intelligence, information technology and visual effects sectors. Like the two previous pilot projects, it will also last five years and will select up to 550 people and their families.

The selection will be equally distributed between the artificial intelligence sector and the other two sectors. This pilot project is meant to both attract international talent working in these sectors and ensure the retention of those who are already in Quebec on a temporary basis.

Application processing times and immigration programs changes

Quebec has also released information related to the number of applications that will be received under economic immigration programs for the coming year. Here are the highlights:

  • A limit of 50 permanent selection applications has been set under the Self-Employed Program for the period from November 1, 2020, to September 30, 2021.
  • A limit of 25 permanent selection applications will be accepted under the first stream of the Entrepreneur Program from November 1, 2020 to September 30, 2021.
  • The second stream of the entrepreneur program is suspended for the next year so that it can be improved.
  • The selection criteria in effect for immigration candidates who have filed an Expression of Interest in Arrima, Quebec’s immigration application management system, for selection under the Regular Skilled Worker Program have also been renewed and are in effect until November 1, 2021.

In addition, the government has introduced changes and a new admission period for applications for collective sponsorship under the Program for Refugees Abroad. There will now be a maximum of 750 applications for group sponsorships of two to five people accepted from April 6 to May 5, 2021. Sponsorship applications must also now be submitted online and will then be randomly selected through a draw.

According to today’s government press release, the receipt of sponsorship applications for organizations, located in Montréal as well as outside the city, is temporarily suspended until November 1, 2021. This is being done in order to complete criminal and administrative investigations due to “serious allegations that call into question the integrity” of certain refugee protection organizations.