A map of the Canadian province of Quebec also showing New York State, New England, and Southeastern Ontario

Quebec's Minister of Immigration, Diversity and Inclusiveness, Kathleen Weil, has announced that online applications for the Quebec Skilled Worker Program (QSWP) will be suspended until June 13, 2016.

Earlier this month, tens of thousands of potential immigrants who had already created an account in the online application management system Mon projet Québec attempted to log in to the system in order to submit their application, but the site was inaccessible due to server failure. This was the latest in a series of technical glitches that had occurred since Mon projet Québec was first launched on January 5, 2015.

"I have no more tolerance for risk on this file. My priority is the immigration candidates themselves," stated Ms. Weil, who had already earlier instructed the Ministère de l'Immigration, de la Diversité et de l'Inclusion (MIDI) to delay the application intake period, which was initially scheduled to begin on January 25, 2016 but was moved to February 16.

Through the QSWP, successful applicants and their families may obtain Canadian permanent resident status after receiving a Quebec Selection Certificate/certificat de selection du Québec (CSQ) from the government of Quebec.

New application submission dates for the QSWP

The Ministère de l'Immigration, de la Diversité et de l'Inclusion has today announced the following schedule for the QSWP:

  • Up to 5,000 applications will be accepted during the period June 13 to June 20, 2016. This intake period will be restricted to the approximately 41,000 candidates who had created a Mon projet Québec account in January. Mon projet Québec is not scheduled to open for new registrations before the June intake period.
  • When this number is reached, applicants who do not have an account may create one with a view to the next intake period. During this second period, the dates of which will be established later, the Ministère will also receive 5,000 applications.

The announcement that up to 5,000 applications will be accepted in June, and another 5,000 at a later date, is likely to be well received by candidates who have created an account in Mon projet Québec, as the previous scheduled quota was set at 2,800 applications to be accepted.

According to the Minister, these measures send a clear message to people who have had to deal with the failures of the system. "I think they will see that there is a willingness to recognize the difficulty they [the candidates] experienced," said Ms. Weil.

Towards a new 'Expression of Interest' immigration system

For the time being, the QSWP operates on a 'first-come, first-served' basis, and this will remain the case for the June intake period.

Quebec’s Minister of Immigration recently proposed a bill that, if passed, would likely result in Quebec implementing an economic immigration system similar to the Express Entry system currently used by the government of Canada, whereby candidates must make an ‘Expression of Interest’ before being invited to apply based on their credentials. Once this bill becomes law, candidates will not be selected on the basis of 'first come, first served'. Rather, they will invited to apply to the program based on labour market needs, having already made an 'Expression of Interest' in immigrating to the Canadian province of Quebec.

"The new system will be much faster. We will no longer live with this situation," said Ms. Weil.

Survey of the Ombudsperson

The Quebec Ombudsperson, Raymonde Saint-Germain, has opened an investigation into the failures of the Mon projet Québec system. The Ombudsperson has received "a few complaints" with respect to the website problems, confirmed a spokeswoman. The exact nature of these complaints remains confidential. This is the first time that the Office of the Ombudsperson has received complaints about computer problems at the Ministère de l'Immigration, de la Diversité et de l'Inclusion.

Note: Candidates in either of the following situations are not subject to the cap and may submit an application for a CSQ as of February 29, 2016:

  • The applicant has enclosed a validated employment offer with the application for a selection certificate submitted under the QSWP; or
  • The applicant is a temporary resident in Quebec and eligible to submit an application for a CSQ.

To learn more about the QSWP, click here.