December 5, 2018 – Quebec’s provincial government has pushed ahead with its plan to reduce immigration levels by 20 per cent in 2019.
Provincial Immigration Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette tabled the Quebec immigration levels plan in the National Assembly on Tuesday.
The Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) government plan features a 2019 immigration target of 38,000 to 42,000 newcomers, compared to a 2018 target of 53,300 new immigrants.
Jolin-Barrette put forward the plan despite there being no agreement in place between Quebec and the federal government.
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Quebec only has control over the number of economic immigrants – skilled workers ands investors – wishing to move to the French-speaking province.
The number of Family Class immigrants and Refugees is under federal jurisdiction, but the CAQ plan details a drop in numbers across the board.
For the Quebec Economic Class, the CAQ plan is for number to fall to 23,450 in 2019, from 31,200 in 2018.
For the Family Class, the plan is for numbers to fall to 8,900 from 11,700. Refugees, meanwhile, would drop from 9,400 to 6,950 under the published numbers.
CAQ’s 2019 Quebec Immigration Levels Plan
The CAQ says it wants to reduce immigration temporarily so that the process of integrating new immigrants can be improved.
But with much of Quebec facing chronic labour shortages, opponents to the plan say the province actually is in dire need of increased immigration, particularly in the Economic Class.
Reducing immigration was an important part Quebec Premier Francois Legault’s campaign when he won the recent provincial election.
Legault argues immigration is not the only way to make up the labour shortage, pointing to the fact that it still exists despite increases under the previous Liberal provincial government,
The CAQ’s move to push ahead with the plan comes despite a warning from Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau earlier on Tuesday.
“What I hear across Quebec is that entrepreneurs and businesses are concerned about a lack of labour,” Trudeau said. “I am not sure it is the best time to reduce the number of people who come.”
On a national level, Ottawa announced in October plans to increase immigration to 350,000 newcomers per year by 2021.
The numbers for Quebec were notably left out of the plan, given the CAQ has just won the election and negotiations had yet to begin with the federal government. Those negotiations are said to be ongoing.
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