Skilled workers from foreign countries who already have a Quebec Selection Certificate can now apply for an open work permit while waiting for the federal government to make a final decision on their permanent residence.
The International Mobility Program Plus (IMP+) is a new work permit option for permanent resident applicants selected by Quebec. It is a way for Quebec to accelerate the arrival of skilled workers in the province to help alleviate current labour shortages.
“As Canada’s economy continues to grow and recover from the pandemic, addressing the labour market challenges faced by employers is a top priority. We recognize that labour shortages are particularly critical for many sectors in Quebec, and the IMP+ initiative will speed up the arrival of skilled workers to the province and help newcomers quickly settle into their new communities, ”Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) said in a press release.
Typically, foreign skilled workers selected by Quebec would have to wait until their application for permanent residence was approved before being able to live and work in the province. The IMP+ work permit will allow an applicant who has been selected for permanent residence by Quebec, but who is currently residing abroad, to move to the province and start to work and settle in the province much sooner.
To be eligible for an open work permit under the IMP+, a foreign national has to:
- live outside Quebec when they apply;
- 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, information technologies and visual effects sectors;
- have received a letter of invitation under the IMP+ program from the Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration (MIFI);
- submit a complete application for a work permit.
If the application is approved, an open, province-specific work permit will be issued to the applicant and will be valid for three years.
For the year 2022, the cap has been set at 14,700 IMP+ applications. Starting in 2023, the annual cap on accepted applications 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. This allowed workers to continue to work 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 are involved in the decision-making process related to immigration. Quebec is responsible for the selection of 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 on the launch of the IMP+ ensures that the options available to Quebec-selected applicants 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 nominated for permanent residence under a 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 approximately 12,000 admitted in 2020 in the context of significant pandemic-related restrictions.