Due to the devastating effects of the coronavirus on Canada’s economy and its people, the number of immigrant workers in Quebec has also been adversely affected. There’s been a significant drop in the already low number of immigrant admissions to Quebec, which lead to the province actively seeking ways to reverse the situation. Because of the situation, many businesses and even some Canadian immigration experts are desperately worried about further worsening the shortage of workers in the province.
The Domino Effect
The workforce in Quebec is currently experiencing a domino effect, which was more likely brought about by the current government’s move to lower the immigration quotas when it came to power about three years ago. This was implemented because the government believed it would help the immigrants better integrate if companies aren’t accepting too many workers at the same time.
However, with the pandemic and the lockdowns that followed with it, it seems like that decision turned for the worse. Many members of the province’s business community had criticized this approach when it was first implemented due to the labour shortage it could bring, especially now that the province’s economy is still trying to recover from the pandemic.
New Agreement on Temporary Foreign Workers
Recently, a new Canada-Quebec agreement is being proposed that will reverse that decision made three years ago. In the new framework, the government will increase the quota of temporary foreign workers that employers can hire for low-wage jobs. The Quebec government has also succeeded in obtaining from the federal government a series of changes that will benefit Quebec employers under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.
After many months of negotiations between the two levels of government and calls from various Quebec labour market stakeholders, these changes will finally be put into effect. Quebec employers have been granted measures to facilitate and speed up the hiring process of temporary foreign workers. This should help alleviate some of the labour shortages the province has been experiencing in the last couple of years.
How the New Framework Works
The first measure in the new framework involves increasing the maximum number of foreign workers that companies in the province can hire. From the previous 10%, it will then be increased to 20%. This is only applicable, however, in certain sectors of the economy. The Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) will also loosen some restrictions by expanding the list of occupations eligible for facilitated processing, including C-level occupations and certain D-level occupations.
Secondly, the government is introducing a Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP), which is intended for those skilled workers awaiting permanent residence. This is a great benefit and will encourage more applicants to come forward.
Lastly, under the International Mobility Program (IMP), a new stream is being created to target permanent immigration applications who hold a Quebec Selection Certificate (CSQ) but are currently abroad. This will make it easier for them to arrive if they are able to fill a job vacancy.
All in all, these new developments in immigration and the hiring of foreign workers will help the province of Quebec recover quickly from the economic crisis brought about by the pandemic.
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