Canada immigration news: When it comes to immigration to Canada, Quebec has an advantageous position in that it can facilitate the hiring of foreign workers in certain professions.
This jurisdiction over immigration is unique, and shared with the federal government, notably under the Canada-Quebec Accord and the Canadian Constitution. It is all the more vital in the context of the increased shortage of workers in several sectors of activity in Quebec, which has been a topical issue for several months.
Quebec’s advantage is manifested in its list of professions eligible for simplified processing, which allows Quebec employers to recruit workers in more than 200 in-demand professions, without having to carry out recruitment activities. Cooks, mechanics, workers, engineers… the needs of Quebec employers are numerous.
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Although Quebec makes use of this list, which was updated on February 24 for the first time since the pandemic, the challenges for employers remain numerous.
As an immigration law practitioner, I can only observe that the Ministry of Immigration, Francisation and Integration (MIFI) is slow to move into the digital age with regard to workers.
Indeed, as a gift of dual jurisdiction, a Quebec employer wishing to hire a foreign worker must not only make a substantial request to the federal government (a Labour Market Impact Assessment), but also to the provincial government (a Quebec Acceptance Certificate, or CAQ).
However, this certificate can only be submitted by mail (!), requires the preparation of two forms (in French only) to be signed by workers abroad, who do not always understand French, especially at the level of complex form.
The submission also involves an additional fee of two payments of $202 (total $404), as well as the $1,000 for the LMIA.
For the process to be completed, Service Canada officers must coordinate with MIFI so the duplicate documentation (LMIA and CAQ), can be issued. This process inevitably causes administrative burdens, costs and often additional delays for Quebec employers.
This means that employers in other provinces may not have a simplified list, but they still avoid a lot of additional bureaucracy because they are not in Quebec. Both the general approach and the simplified approach for the Quebec employer to hire a foreign worker will make you dizzy.
While waiting for the day when the federal and Quebec governments can work together on immigration, in the same way they do on tax, a complete and quick transition to digital is urgently needed to help solve the labour shortage.
Even job offer validation by employers to help permanent residence applications for foreign workers is done by mail. This process is not only obsolete but also harms the employer and the employee, who struggle to understand the follow-up of their requests in real-time and to have expectations of processing times.
As the Coalition Avenir Québec said in its slogan (10 years ago now): “That’s enough, it has to change.”
By Isabelle Sauriol, Canada Immigration Lawyer