Due to a pending backlog of over 18,000 unprocessed applications in the Skilled Worker Program of Quebec (QSWP), a judge in the Superior Court of Quebec has ordered that the Government of Quebec should not wave these applications to attend to new ones. He stated that the Quebec Government should focus its energy on completely processing pending applications.
It was on the 7th of February 2018 that the Coalition Avenir Quebec Government brought forward the idea that all pending applications in the Skilled Worker Program which were submitted before the 2nd of August 2018 should be canceled.
Immigration lawyers, however, stood against the proposal, insisting that the action was criminal and would be very frustrating to all affected persons. Thus, the ruling of the Supreme court gave a temporary 10-day injunction of the legislation.
Effect of the Injunction to Process Backlog of Pending Applications
It was stated in the Legislation; otherwise called Bill 9 that the termination order should be carried out with immediate effect.
However, after the Supreme Court ruling, the Quebec Minister of immigration, Simon Jolin-Barrette, in a press release gave the assurance of continuing with the processing of applications pending the passage of the Bill 9 by the Quebec’s National Assembly.
AQAADI made the injunction request through Seeun Park, a nurse from South Korea who would also be affected by the termination of the applications. He had applied to the Quebec Skilled Worker Program to be given a Quebec Selection Certificate (CSQ).
For an applicant under the Quebec Skilled Worker Program to be eligible to apply for Permanent Resident in Canada, he or she must first receive a CSQ from the Provincial Government.
AQAADI proposed that the court should order the Government to keep on with the normal processing of CSQ applications until Bill 9 is passed into law by the National Assembly of Quebec.
It went on to point out that the Minister for Immigration in the Province is lawfully expected to make and release decisions concerning the backlogged applications, without the option of opting out from issuing the decisions.
Reactions Stirred by the Termination Proposal
AQAADI described the situation as urgent and emphasized that the huge number of backlogged applications represents tens of thousands of people when dependent children and spouses are factored in.
Several groups have reacted to the Coalition Avenir Quebec government’s decision to wave off the backlog of unprocessed applications. Concerns over this issue have been issued by groups such as the Canadian Bar Association to Conseil du Patronat, who is responsible for the unity of top business tycoons in Quebec.
A lot have adjudged the Quebec Government’s decision as unfair, especially when considering the time invested by applicants who have been eagerly anticipating a response to their application, and some who have already begun working and/or living in the Province via temporary residence visa.
Following the Introduction of Bill 9, the Minister for Immigration in Quebec, Simon Jolin-Barrette was of the opinion that terminating the application would be very needful if the Government was going to concentrate on the selection of applicants in the Expression of Interest Pool, and cut down the processing time to approximately 6 months from 36 months.
He added during the introduction of the proposed legislation that the EOI system would more effectively assist the CAQ government to narrow down the recruitment of Skilled Workers to meet the labor needs of certain regions across the Province.
The Way Forward
Meanwhile, the government has already strategized a means to assist affected applicants. As of August 2018, it created an online Expression of Interest (EOI) system to effectively control the pool of applicants in the Skilled Worker Program of Quebec and requires that all applicants affected by the termination should register a profile under it.
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