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Coming into effect of permanent immigration pilot programs for temporary foreign workers

Announced last fall by the Government of Quebec as one of the measures to compensate for the rarity of workforce exacerbated by the pandemic, the programs will come into force on April 22, 2021. With annual quotas of 550 files per program, candidates will be able to submit an application for permanent selection until January 1, 2026. More specifically, the programs target the following professions:

– Personal care attendants

– Food-processing industry workers

– Workers in the artificial intelligence, information technologies and visual effects sectors

The rest of the regulation is available here.

Upon reading the conditions and reactions these programs have generated, we retain the following points:

  • The conditions of access to permanent selection may prove to be more restrictive than those of the regular selection program via the ARRIMA platform or the Quebec Experience Program. We are targeting, for example, the requirements aimed at the diplomas of the sub-component Workers of the programs in artificial intelligence and information technologies – we ask for at least a diploma equivalent to a Quebec baccalaureate – or the list of professions (with the codes associated to the related National Classification of Professions).
  • The requirements regarding the knowledge of French can be difficult to meet in some cases. We are thinking, for example, about the candidates of the pilot program for workers in the food-processing industry. A level 7 (advanced intermediate) is required according to l’Échelle Québécoise des niveaux de compétence en français, while the equivalent program managed by the federal government provides for a level 4 of knowledge of one of the official languages according to the Canadian Language Benchmarks.
  • The Workers sub-component requires work experience of at least 24 months, which may make this program less appealing given the total delays from the application for permanent selection to obtaining permanent residence.
  • Although the intention of the provincial government to support local businesses, the recruitment and retention of labor, including here temporary foreign workers, is laudable, we have our reservations as for the impact of this program on the path to permanent residence for this category of employees. We must admit, again, that this turns out to be a real obstacle course for all foreign workers who want to settle permanently in Quebec.
  • As in our previous articles, we continue to advise our corporate partners to encourage their employees holding a work permit, to prioritize the filing of an application for permanent selection through the regular program of skilled workers as soon as they become eligible. Do not forget that the rarity of workforce and the shortage of qualified workers in certain fields is a daily reality throughout Canada, and that other provinces and the federal government favor the permanent establishment of these workers. Hoping that employees will wait 24 months to submit their application for permanent selection, through the PEQ or one of these pilot programs is, in our opinion, unrealistic.

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