Quebec skilled workers

Skilled workers holding a Quebec Selection Certificate can now apply for an open work permit while waiting to obtain their permanent residence.

A new way to bring in more quickly skilled workers who have been selected by Quebec and who are waiting for permanent residence is now open for applications.

The International Mobility Program Plus (IMP+) is a new open work permit option for permanent residence applicants selected by Quebec. This is a way for the province to accelerate the arrival of skilled workers on its territory in order to alleviate the current labor shortages.

“As Canada’s economy continues to grow and recover from the pandemic, one of our top priorities is to address the labor market challenges facing employers. We recognize that labor shortages are particularly serious for many sectors in Quebec, and the PMI+ initiative will accelerate the arrival of skilled workers in the province and help newcomers settle quickly in their new communities,” said Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) in a press release.

Usually, foreign skilled workers selected by Quebec must wait for their application for permanent residence to be approved before they can live and work in the province. The IMP+ work permit speeds up this process by allowing an applicant awaiting permanent residence to move to the province and start working there sooner.

To be eligible for an open work permit under the PMI+, a foreign national must:

  • reside outside Quebec at the time they submit their application;
  • hold a Quebec Selection Certificate (CSQ) which proves that they have been selected for permanent residence under the Regular Skilled Worker Program or the Permanent Immigration Pilot Program for Workers in the Artificial Intelligence Sectors, information technology and visual effects;
  • have received an invitation letter as part of the PMI+ from the Ministry of Immigration, Francisation, and Integration (MIFI);
  • submit a complete application for a work permit.

How to become a Canadian citizen

If the application is approved, a province-specific open work permit will be issued to the applicant and will be valid for three years.

For the year 2022, the ceiling has been set at 14,700 requests under the PMI+. From 2023, the cap on applications accepted each year will be set at 7,350.

In August 2021, IRCC had already expanded eligibility for bridging open work permits to include skilled workers who were already working temporarily in Quebec and who had applied for permanent residence. These permits allow workers to continue working while waiting for their application for permanent residence to be finalized.

Under an agreement between the province of Quebec and Canada, both levels of government participate in the decision-making process on immigration. Quebec is responsible for selecting immigrants in certain immigration categories, including economic immigrants, who wish to come to the province, while the federal government makes the final decision on their application for permanent residence.

The announcement of the introduction of the PMI+ ensures that the options available to applicants selected by Quebec are more closely aligned with those available to applicants from other Canadian provinces and territories. Under other federal-provincial/territorial immigration agreements, applicants who have been selected for permanent residence under a Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) are generally eligible for a work permit when they apply for permanent residence with IRCC.

According to Government of Canada data, more than 25,000 Quebec skilled workers were admitted as permanent residents in 2021, more than double the roughly 12,000 admitted in 2020 amid significant pandemic-related restrictions.

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