The Quebec government intends to fulfill its plans to bring 51,000 new immigrants to the province in 2017.Kathleen Weil, Quebec’s immigration minister acknowledged the figure and gave further details on the plan that will see the province give an additional $31 million to French language training for new immigrants. The government will spend an estimated $168 million annually on the programs.
Although the plans have faced resistance from opposition parties, Weil reiterated the government’s desire to maintain annual immigration levels above 50,000 every year, saying it is the best course of action for the province. The minister also confirmed plans to increase the immigration levels to 52,500 annually by the year 2019. The province has a special immigration agreement with the federal government where it has been given permission to select its own economic immigrants.
Over 63 percent of newcomers to the province are part of the economic immigrants, they are qualified workers and business people who come through various immigration programs such as the Quebec Experience Class, the Quebec Skilled Worker Program (QSWP), and the Quebec Investor Program.
Resistance from opposition
Dismissing the opposition to her plan from the opposition’s parties, the immigration minister said “I have done three consultations. And nobody has asked that we lower the immigration numbers. Rather, people just want to make sure you have a plan and you are going to invest in integration, you’re going to invest in French language courses and you are going to work to ensure that these people have a job”. Weil also said the Quebec government will create a job bank, where immigrants will be able to match their skills to available jobs before they arrive, the job bank will be complete and ready for use by early next year.
Another immigration program that aids Quebec’s immigration numbers is the federal government's family reunification program, it is estimated that around 11,500 people will reunite with their families in the New Year through this program.
The minister also mentioned the large number of Syrian refugees as part of the reason for the federal government’s immigration plans for 2016, Weil is optimistic that the province will receive 8,500 more refugees in 2017.