The Quebec government launched a new system on Thursday that it hopes will significantly speed up the processing of immigration applications and make it easier to match potential immigrants to the needs of the labour market.
The system, called Arrima, aims to fix the province’s labour shortage and promote immigration to the regions of Quebec, noted Immigration Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette. It was originally introduced by the Liberals last August.
“Arrima is about the economic selection,” he said.
“People are chosen because they answer a Quebec need about the Quebec work market.”
Employer groups have applauded the new system, which they say they have called for, given the scarcity of manpower in many sectors, for some time now.
“The new system is what we have been demanding for years and it’s going to change things for the better,” said Michel Leblanc, president of the Montreal Chamber of Commerce.
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Anyone wishing to immigrate to Quebec will first have to complete a declaration of interest form. This step will be free.
Quebec will then decide which candidates it invites, according to the needs of the labour market, explained Jolin-Barrette.
Once approved, they are paired with an employer looking to hire. The government says the new system will help narrow down which immigrants are actually needed.
“If you have an offer from an employer, we will prioritize your file,” Jolin-Barrette said.
“You will be on the top of the list because if you answer a Quebec need, that’s the first criteria.”
The government said it will prioritize the files of 3,700 people who have applied for a CSQ and are already in Quebec.
“Until their files get processed, they still have this anxiety,” said Ho Sung Kim with the Quebec Association of Immigration Lawyers.
“People who are in Quebec, they have no choice. They have to go through with this system.”
However, the other 18,000 existing immigration applications are now null and void.
The new Arrima system could reduce the time required to obtain a Quebec Selection Certificate (CSQ) from 36 to six months. There are already 100,000 people registered on the system.