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Quebec could admit up to 42,000 new permanent residents and issue as many as 24,800 selection certificates in the new year, the province says in its new immigration plan for 2019.
The majority of new admissions to Quebec in 2019 — 59 per cent — will come through the province’s economic immigration programs, including the Quebec Skilled Worker Program (QSWP).
Quebec has set an overall admissions target of 40,000 new permanent residents for 2019. This includes a target of 23,450 for Quebec’s economic immigration programs, including 19,500 skilled workers.
The province’s 2019 target for its business immigration programs, which include the Quebec Immigrant Investor Program, Quebec Entrepreneur Program and the Quebec Self-Employed Worker Program, is set 3,200.
A target of 750 admissions is also set for “other economic categories” such as caregivers and others.
The remaining 16,550 new permanent residents are slated to arrive through family sponsorship, refugee and other immigration programs.
In terms of Quebec Selection Certificates (Certificats de séléction du Québec, or CSQs), Quebec’s plan calls for issuing between 20,200 and 24,800 next year.
Under the Canada-Quebec Accord, Quebec has sole responsibility for the selection of immigrants destined for the province, which makes it the only province in Canada with such an arrangement with Canada’s federal government.
Those issued a CSQ can then apply directly to the Government of Canada for a permanent residence visa.
Under the 2019 plan, skilled workers will receive between 12,500 and 15,000 CSQs — more than half of the projected totals.
Candidates in Quebec’s various business programs will receive between 2,100 and 2,800 CSQs.
The projected numbers of both admissions and CSQs for 2019 are down from previous years, and reflect a promise made by the new Coalition Avenir Québec government to reduce immigration levels by around 10,000 people per year on a temporary basis.
In his introduction to the 2019 plan, Quebec’s new Immigration Minister, Simon Jolin-Barrette, said the temporary reduction will ensure that those who are admitted are better integrated into the majority French-speaking province, while ensuring employers continue to have access to skilled foreign workers.
During the fall provincial election, the Coalition Avenir Québec’s promise to reduce immigration was criticized as a populist move that ignored the reality of mounting labour shortages in Quebec’s outlying regions.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau echoed that concern on Tuesday.
“What I hear throughout Quebec is business owners […] concerned about the shortage of labour,” Trudeau told reporters. “I’m not sure this is the best time to reduce the number of people coming.”