The Government of Quebec made a controversial move, and people have mixed opinions. Quebec’s disputed immigration reforms were approved and passed by the province’s National Assembly. This means that almost 16,000 unprocessed applications made for the Quebec Skilled Worker Program were officially canceled. While the Government is arguing that this step will help to align immigrants with the provinces’ specific labor market needs, it has been widely criticized.
Also called Bill 9, this legislation first came into existence back in February. The proposal was that all the pending applications submitted for the program before 2nd August 2018 should be officially terminated. However, the government had to delay the legislation due to a court order and the applications continued to be processed until the National Assembly cast their votes on Bill 9. During this time, almost 2,000 applications underwent processing, but only 258 were approved. Bill 9 was finally passed after the result stood at 62 to 42 at the end of 19 hours. According to the government, the objective of the legislation is to make sure that the immigrants who arrive in Quebec are able to integrate themselves better in the province. They should have the necessary skills to succeed in the province’s labor market. Simon Jolin-Barrette, who is Quebec’s Immigration Minister, claimed that they were changing the system of immigration for the betterment of the public. They wanted to ensure that the immigration process was in sync with the requirements of the market.
On the subject of the canceled applications, Barrette put forward the argument that it was a necessary step considering that the Quebec Skilled Worker Program (QSWP) made a switch to an online system of registering Expression of Interest. Barrette further explained that those applications were submitted at a time when the QSWP followed a ‘first-come, first-serve’ basis, which is no longer the case.