We almost fell off our chairs this week when Quebec Immigration Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette announced that there is a backlog of over 18,000 applications still pending file opening.
According to Minister Jolin-Barrette, the backlog of applications was left over by the previous government and some files date back to 2005. Considering the fact that Quebec immigration officers process an approximate of 600 files per month, it was established that it would take over 2 years to complete the processing of the 18,000 files at this rate.
We know that it is next ot impossible for Quebec to only take care of the previous applications, so we will have to wait for more news from the current Quebec Government (the CAQ). For the moment, Prime Minister François Legault has assured that all the applications will be processed and gave a deadline of 6 months to have the problem resolved. Whether that can be achieved or not is still to be determined but what is guaranteed is that ARRIMA applications will have to be delayed.
Who gets priority?
Those who have submitted applications through the Quebec Skilled Workers Program regular stream should feel relieved to know that their applications will have to be processed before any new applications can be. This means that if you are part of the 18,000 or so applicants that have already submitted their applications through the QSWP , either by paper or through Mon Projet Québec, your application should be opened before Immigration Quebec can start accepting new applications under the same program.
It is important to note that applications through the fast-track stream of the QSWP, also known as the Programme de l'Expérience Québécoise (PEQ), have continued to be reviewed at an even higher priority with processing times averaging one month.
Which rules apply?
According to Minister Jolin-Barrette, these 18,000 applications will be treated based on the old system and rules rather than the CAQ's new proposed rules (priority for french speakers, etc.).
Although this sounds comforting for those who are part of the 18,000, we have seen in the past that this may not be entirely true. For example, when the government came out with new regulations and bonus points for "areas of training" or "domaine de formation" on August 2nd, 2018, all applications who did not meet the minimum requirement of points following the change were refused.
What about ARRIMA?
Arrima is the new Immigration Portal that was released around September of 2018 (by the previous government) and has not yet been activated.
The Quebec Prime Minister has mentioned that he would not start taking applications from ARRIMA until the backlog issues have been solved. However, ARRIMA and other linked immigration streams such as the validated job offer remain open for those willing to submit their applications.
Comments from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
The federal government led by Justin Trudeau's liberal party is completely on the other side of the spectrum. The Canadian Prime Minister has recommended that is important to increase immigration intake in order to address a shortage of labor and the aging working population.
Which steps should you take?
We recommend exploring all options available to you in order to increase your chances at Canadian Immigration. If you are eligible for the PEQ, Express Entry or a validated job offer, we advise to consider these programs to facilitate your immigration application.