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Earlier this month, the Quebec government announced that they will be holding public consultations for changes to be made to their provincial immigration programs and policies. A proposal was released by Quebec’s Minister of Immigration and Cultural Communities, Kathleen Weil, which listed several changes that should be made to Quebec’s immigration programs for the period of 2012-2015.

Under the Canada-Quebec Accord, the province of Quebec has the right to select most immigrants destined to their province. Quebec has several successful immigration programs, such as the Quebec Skilled Worker Program and the Quebec Experience Class. Last year alone, Quebec welcomed more than 54,000 immigrants from over 185 countries. In order to meet Quebec’s labour needs and to stabilize the volume of admissions, the Government of Quebec is proposing to make the following changes to their immigration programs and policies:

Stabilization

Quebec is proposing to stabilize the volume of admissions for 2012-2015 so that approximately 50,000 applicants would be accepted per year. Quebec also wants to ensure that 65% to 75% of the skilled workers accepted are under the age of 35. Finally, they are aiming to have the majority of accepted applicants, 65%, coming from the economic categories, such as the Skilled Worker Program and the Quebec Business/Investor Immigration programs.

Limit by region

In 2010, approximately 37% of immigrants admitted to Quebec were from Africa (the majority being from Maghreb), 25% from Asia, 21% from the Americas, and 17% from Europe. One proposed change is to limit the number of applicants to 30% per region, to encourage a greater diversity among applicants. This means that the number of applicants accepted from Africa would be reduced.

Increase French Proficiency Requirements

Quebec noted that 65% of applicants accepted last year were at least somewhat proficient in French; however the level of French proficiency varied greatly among applicants from beginner to advanced. Quebec is proposing to increase the level of French proficiency needed for applicants, especially for those applying through Quebec’s Skilled Worker Program.

As mentioned above, the majority of applicants who apply to immigrate to Quebec are from Africa, specifically from Maghreb, Morocco, and Algeria. Should the changes be implemented, these applicants may have a harder time applying through Quebec as the number of applicants accepted from that region will be reduced. Similarly, if the level of language proficiency needed will be increased, applicants with lower levels of French proficiency may have a harder time applying through Quebec.

Attorney David Cohen offers the following advice, “If you qualify for one of Quebec’s immigration programs, now is the time to apply as you may find it more difficult to qualify once the proposed changes have been implemented.”

Learn if you qualify for one of Quebec’s immigration programs by completing our Canadian immigration eligibility questionnaire.

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