At the end of March 2017, IRCC (Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada) and MIDI Quebec (Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Diversité et de l’Inclusion) have announced important steps concerning both the Quebec selection system and the  federal Express Entry (EE) procedures.

MIDI published on March 30, 2017. a Decision on registration of new applications for this year, which seems essentially to keep the way “Mon projet Quebec” works unchanged. It indicates that 5,000 new applications will be accepted starting from a date to be announced later, without any mention  about the coming into force of the system based on declarations of intent that was announced two years ago. In other words, until further notice, we expect the new applications to be accepted on the old “first come, first served” system, with the result that the above mentioned cap will be completed in a few seconds at the starting date of the operation, the way it happened twice in 2016.  It should be noted that the 5000 cap will not  affect the applications submitted under the PEQ (Program de l’expérience Québécoise), or those filed by candidates who have validated job offers or  are actually in Quebec as students or temporary workers. The same decision maintains the suspension concerning the receipt of applications   in the “entrepreneurs” and “travailleurs autonomes” categories.  As regards the investors, it sets a cap of 1900 applications, out of which only 1330 can be filed by  Chinese businessmen.

On 31 March 2017 it was the turn of the Federal Government to reform the Express Entry system.  I would like to remind our readers  that in late 2016 IRCC implemented a  first major change that drastically diminished,  from 600 to 50, the extra points awarded to  holders of LMIA based work permits or of validated  job offers (except only for the senior management positions  who get 200). Shortly thereafter, the minimum score for which IRPA issued ITAs (Invitations to Apply) began to gradually decline, reaching  441points at the last draw.

The new change comes into force on June the 1st 2017 and will introduce two important measures: it will provide additional points to candidates fluent in French and to those who have brothers / sisters permanent residents or Canadian citizens. Thus, it will add 15 points to the score of the candidates who have demonstrated by the TEF test a minimum level 7 of language skills in French according to the CLB (Canadian Language Benchmarks) and a maximum level of 4 for English. In the event that the level of English is at least five, the score will increase with 30 points.  As regards the Canadian siblings, it is interesting to observe that no points are allocated for parents or uncles/aunts, despite the fact that they are still adding points to their relatives under the Federal Skilled Worker Program.  Consequently, starting from June 1, 2017 only the candidates who share at least one parent with a Canadian citizen or resident permanent aged at least 18 will receive 15 additional points.

Let us not forget also that the francophones can also enjoy easier immigration to Canada under the  Ontario’s Express Entry French-Speaking Skilled Worker Stream.

Dan Gheciu