March 14, 2019 – New research by an economic research organization questions the arguments behind the Coalition Avenir Quebec’s decision to reduce Quebec immigration and cancel existing applications.
The Institut de recherche et d’informations socio-économiques (IRIS) study concludes Quebec immigrant employment rates are increasing, immigrant unemployment has fallen sharply, education and language ability are high and retention rates excellent.
But the CAQ provincial government is pushing ahead with reducing immigration levels from 50,000 to 40,000 in 2019, despite Quebec businesses being desperately short of labour. The province faces a falling birth rate and an aging population.
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Quebec ranks as one of the leading provinces in Canada when it comes to immigrant retention five years after arrival.
The immigrant unemployment rate fell from nearly 13 per cent in 2009 to under 7 per cent in 2018, with the province’s employment rate for immigrants higher than Ontario last year.
Quebec’s immigrants are better-educated than the Canada-born population, and the number of immigrants with advanced French-language skills on arrival is increasing, the IRIS research shows.
The study is based on data from Statistics Canada and the Quebec government.
Quebec Skilled Worker Backlog
|Number of pending applications||18,000||45,000+|
|How many working/studying in Quebec||3,700||9,250|
|Number of applications concluded monthly 2015||2,000||5,000|
|Number of applications accepted monthly 2015||1000||2,500|
Experts say the decision to cut immigration is playing to the fears of some Quebec people.
The CAQ won the 2018 election on a platform of temporarily reducing immigration, also saying it would implement a conditional Quebec values and French language test for newcomers.
It recently tabled Bill 9, the cornerstone of which is to cancel 18,000 existing immigration applications through the Quebec Skilled Worker Program, some dating back 10 years.
When the legislation was table in early February, the Quebec immigration ministry contacted the 18,000 candidates to tell them their applications would not be processed.
However, since then, a Quebec Superior Court ruling ordered processing to continue until Bill 9 becomes law, which is expected to happen in June 2019.
Watch: How Bill 9 Court Decision Affects Employers and Applicants to Quebec
What can applicants with pending applications expect?
Evidence presented suggests that MIDI will unlikely issue more than 1,000 approvals from the pool of pending applications for the rest of 2019. Many of the applications in the backlog have outdated documents, or do not meet more stringent amendments put into place in August 2018.
The court will not attempt to define the pace of usual treatment the Quebec Immigration Minister must follow in processing existing applications. MIDI has wide latitude to manage its case load, but must follow a processing time which is reasonable.
Candidates who are currently working or studying in Quebec will be invited to apply under the Quebec Experience Program. Candidates who meet such rules, will be given priority processing and will not be subject to Bill 9.
The vast majority of the 18,000 pending applicants who are outside Quebec, will not find any relief from the judgement. Once the law ultimately comes into effect, most applicants who are not issued approvals by that date, will find their applications cancelled under Bill 9.
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