What is the change? Quebec’s immigration minister recently announced that the province will soon replace the current first-come, first-served program for economic immigrants with a new Expression of Interest program designed to give priority to immigrants with skills that are in high demand in Quebec.

What does the change mean? The new system will likely be similar to the federal Express Entry program, where candidates are given a score based on skills, education, work experience, language ability and other factors. In making the announcement, Quebec Immigration Minister David Heurtel also said he wants to reduce processing times for economic immigrants to less than 12 months. He said the changes will be implemented Aug. 2.

  • Implementation time frame: Between now and Aug. 2.
  • Visas/permits affected: Permanent residence through the Quebec Skilled Worker Program.
  • Who is affected: Foreign nationals interested in coming to Canada through the Quebec Skilled Worker Program.
  • Impact on processing times: The immigration minister has said that he would like to see processing times reduced to less than 12 months, a significant improvement over the current wait times of more than two years.
  • Next steps: Additional information is expected between now and Aug. 2.

Background: Heurtel announced the change on Twitter last week after officials had talked about moving to a new Expression of Interest system for months. He linked to a news report which quoted him as saying the new system will allow Quebec to “give priority to the people who have the skills we need” and that processing times for economic immigrants would drop from 32 months to less than 12 months. The launch of the new system will coincide with the introduction of changes to the popular Quebec Immigrant Investor Program, which is also expected to open a new application period in August.

BAL Analysis: Quebec’s new immigration system will be designed to give priority to economic immigrants with skills that meet labor needs and is expected to significantly improve processing times. BAL will provide additional information on how the program will work as it becomes available.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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