Quebec MICC (Ministère de l’Immigration et des Communautés culturelles) announced on 24 February 2012 a simplified LMO (Labour Market Opinion) processing system for 44 pre-approved occupations. This is a collaborative project of Service Canada, MICC and Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) that seeks to spare the employers located in Quebec from the burden of advertising positions they offer to foreign workers, and to justify why they haven’t hired the Canadian residents who responded to their ads.

The new list, with French denominations, follows below:

0112 Directeurs/directrices des ressources humaines
0611 Directeurs/directrices des ventes, du marketing et de la publicité
0621 Directeurs/directrices – commerce de détail
1111 Vérificateurs/vérificatrices et comptables
1221 Agents/agentes d’administration
1222 Adjoints/adjointes de direction
1243 Secrétaires médicaux/secrétaires médicales
2131 Ingénieurs civils/ingénieures civiles
2146 Ingénieurs/ingénieures en aérospatiale
2171 Analystes et consultants/consultantes en informatique
2173 Ingénieurs/ingénieures et concepteurs/conceptrices en logiciel
2174 Programmeurs/programmeuses et développeurs/développeuses en médias interactifs
2231 Technologues et techniciens/techniciennes en génie civil
2232 Technologues et techniciens/techniciennes en génie mécanique
2241 Technologues et techniciens/techniciennes en génie électronique et électrique
2253 Technologues et techniciens/techniciennes en dessin
2282 Agents/agentes de soutien aux utilisateurs
2283 Évaluateurs/évaluatrices de logiciels et de systèmes informatiques
3111 Médecins spécialistes
3112 Omnipraticiens/omnipraticiennes et médecins en médecine familiale
3113 Dentistes
3114 Vétérinaires
3131 Pharmaciens/pharmaciennes
3141 Audiologistes et orthophonistes
3142 Physiothérapeutes
3143 Ergothérapeutes
3152 Infirmiers autorisés/infirmières autorisées
3211 Technologistes médicaux/technologistes médicales et assistants/assistantes en anatomopathologie
3214 Inhalothérapeutes, perfusionnistes cardiovasculaires et technologues cardiopulmonaires
3215 Technologues en radiation médicale
3222 Hygiénistes et thérapeutes dentaires
3233 Infirmiers auxiliaires/infirmières auxiliaires
4131 Enseignants/enseignantes au niveau collégial et autres instructeurs/instructrices de programmes de perfectionnement
4141 Enseignants/enseignantes au niveau secondaire
4152 Travailleurs sociaux/travailleuses sociales
4212 Travailleurs/travailleuses des services communautaires et sociaux
5125 Traducteurs/traductrices, terminologues et interprètes
6211 Superviseurs/superviseures – commerce de détail
6221 Spécialistes des ventes techniques – commerce de gros
7231 Machinistes et vérificateurs/vérificatrices d’usinage et d’outillage
7311 Mécaniciens/mécaniciennes de chantier et mécaniciens industriels/mécaniciennes industrielles (sauf l’industrie du textile)
7312 Mécaniciens/mécaniciennes d’équipement lourd
7321 Mécaniciens/mécaniciennes et réparateurs/réparatrices de véhicules automobiles, de camions et d’autobus
7333 Électromécaniciens/électromécaniciennes

The numbers on the left are NOC (National Occupational Classification) codes. It is important to keep in mind that the main duties and the employment requirements that define each occupation have been established based on the 2006 version of the NOC, which is currently unavailable on the Internet (the current one dates from 2011), but will be reinstated shortly “due to high demand” coming from HRSDC’s (Human Resources and Skills Development Canada) clients. We have here a new example of the “co-ordination” between the federal and the provincial governments.  HRSDC eliminated the old version without knowing that MICC will use it to prepare its list…

Under the new system, the applications will be sent directly to MICC (including HRSDC forms). MICC will review the application and send its recommendation to HRSDC/Service Canada; when both reach an agreement and decide to approve the application, the MCCI will issue a “Certificat d’acceptation du Québec” (CAQ) based on which the foreign worker will be issued with his/her work permit.

As mentioned before, because these occupations are pre-approved, the employers are not required to advertise the positions and prove their recruitment efforts. The employer, however, must offer prevailing wages and the offered position must match the official job description for 99%, both in terms of main duties and employment requirements.   This is another peculiar situation because, although the list refers to the federal NOC codes, the above-mentioned conditions will be assessed based on the criteria displayed in the “Emploi Quebec” site.  As regards the forms, they will remain unchanged, but the applicant must insert the mention “TRAITEMENT SIMPLIFIÉ”.

Employers will still be able to apply for standard LMO and CAQ for other occupations.  For the regular LMO process, even if one sends the application to HRSDC and concurrently to MICC, Immigration Québec will review the file first and send its recommendation to Service Canada, which will finalize the file.

It is also to be noted that effective 24 February 2012, Quebec removed the IT program. However, under the new simplified process, three IT positions are available: 2171, 2173, and 2174, which have a wide range of duties.

Last but not least, MICC officers have recently announced that they will no longer assist employers with preparation of the application or with explanation of the process, which makes it almost compulsory for the employers who really wish to see their applications approved, to seek professional assistance.   In the particular case of the applications filed with MICC, not every Canadian lawyer and not even every regulated immigration consultant is allowed to handle such applications.  Lawyers must be members of the “Barreau du Québec” and immigration consultants must be not only members of ICCRC, but also recognized by MICC and listed in its Register.


The Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act

The Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act

Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney has introduced on 16 February 2012 a new Bill aimed at protecting the integrity of Canada’s immigration system.  The proposed measures include further reforms to the asylum system to make it faster, to address human smuggling, and to make it mandatory to provide biometric data with a temporary resident visa application.

The new bill, Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act, proposes changes that build on reforms to the asylum system passed in June 2010 as part of the Balanced Refugee Reform Act, when the Conservative Party was still running a minority government and was obliged by the parliamentary opposition to pass a much softer legislation than initially intended.  Now, the majority Conservative Government is taking its “revenge” and chances are that the bill will come into force in a very short time.

Basically, the proposed measures would provide faster protection to those who genuinely need refuge, and faster removal for those who don’t.  In particular, refugee claimants from generally non-refugee-producing countries such as most of those in the European Union (EU) would be processed, on average, in 45 days compared to more than 1,000 days under the current system, or 171 days under the Balanced Refugee Reform Act.  The move comes as Canada copes with a massive spike in refugee applications from Hungary. Figures recently obtained by Postmedia News suggest that 4,409 Hungarians of Roma origin applied for refugee status in 2011 compared with just 2,300 a year earlier. Only two per cent of the application filed in 2010 by Hungarian nationals were approved, and seven per cent in the first nine months of last year.

Based on the new bill, a list of Designated Countries of Origin will be adopted.  Designated countries of origin (DCO) would be countries that do not normally produce refugees. The proposed changes would amend the criteria used to identify countries to be considered for designation, and remove the requirement to have an expert panel make a recommendation to designate.  There would be a two-step process for a country to be considered for designation.  First, a country would have to meet one of two quantitative thresholds or limits set out in a ministerial order. The proposed triggers for a review are based on rejection rates, withdrawal and abandonment rates. A rejection rate (which includes abandoned and withdrawn claims) of 75% or higher would trigger a review. Similarly, an abandonment and withdrawal rate of 60% or higher would trigger a review too.

For claimants from countries with a low number of claims, a qualitative checklist would be established in legislation. The qualitative criteria checklist would include:

  • the existence of an independent judicial system;
  • recognition of basic democratic rights and freedoms, including mechanisms for redress if those rights or freedoms are infringed; and
  • the existence of civil society organizations.

Once a country is triggered for a review, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) would conduct a review in consultation with other government departments. The Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism would make the final decision on whether to designate a country.  Claimants from designated countries would not have access to the Refugee Appeal Division at the IRB.

To further accelerate the processing of refugee claimants from a designated country, these claims would be heard on an expedited basis by the IRB. It is proposed that DCO claims would be heard by civil servant decision makers at the IRB within 30 days for claims made at inland immigration offices and within 45 days for claims made at ports of entry. By comparison, it is proposed that hearings for claimants from all other countries would occur within 60 days.

All failed claimants would continue to have the option of asking the Federal Court to review a negative decision. However, there would be no automatic stay of removal for DCO claimants should they decide to ask the Federal Court to review a negative decision, which means that they could be removed from Canada while their claim is pending.

To further reduce the attraction of coming to Canada to make an unfounded claim, DCO claimants will be ineligible to apply for a work permit and associated benefits until their claim is approved by the IRB or their claim has been in the system for more than 180 days and no decision has been made.

Mandatory detention remains for people who enter Canada as part of a designated smuggling event (for instance on board of boats operated by organized smugglers). But once the identity of a claimant has been established and a refugee claim is approved, individuals would be released from detention.

The final component of the new legislation would give the Minister the authority to make it mandatory for visa applicants to provide biometric data (i.e., fingerprints, photograph) to visit Canada. Documents can be forged or stolen, whereas biometric data provide greater certainty, confirming the identity of applicants when they apply.   According to the official Communiqué issued by the Canadian Government, these measures would put our country in line with international partners such as the United Kingdom, the European Union, Australia, and the United States. This would help prevent known criminals, failed refugee claimants and deportees from using a fake identity to obtain a visa. The use of biometrics would also bolster Canada’s existing measures to facilitate legitimate travel by providing a fast and reliable tool for confirming identity.