Quebec releases its immigration plan for 2023

Edana Robitaille
Published: December 8, 2022

The Quebec Immigration Plan for 2023, released on December 8, shows that the province could admit up to 52,500 new permanent residents in 2023. This target is precisely the same as the immigration plan for 2022.

Most new admissions to Quebec in 2023 will come through the province’s economic immigration programs, including the Quebec Skilled Worker Program (QSWP) and the Québec experience program (PEQ).

The new plan stays true to the targets established during the public consultation held in the summer of 2019 as part of Quebec Immigration Planning for the 2020-2022 period.

With a maximum target of 33,900, the economic category represents the largest proportion of newcomers, over 65% of planned admissions. In this category, the province expects to welcome up to 29,500 skilled workers and up to 4,300 business immigrants, which would include investors, entrepreneurs, and the self-employed.

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The remaining 18,100 new permanent residents are expected to arrive through family reunification, refugees, and other immigration programs.

Quebec’s immigration plan is presented each year by the province’s Immigration Department. It outlines the number of new permanent residents the province intends to admit in the coming year, as well as the categories in which it will admit them. To date, plans have been released outlining targets for only the coming year. However, in 2023 a consultation will take place in which the province will create a multi-year plan beginning in 2024.

Focus on French-speaking immigrants

The 2023 plan stays close to the 2022 plan as earlier this year, the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) won a second term as the governing party, with a strong majority.

The 2022 plan set out under the leadership of current premier François Legault, aimed to gradually increase the number of newcomers after reducing admission targets back in 2019. A 20 % decrease was introduced that year by the CAQ to improve the selection and francization of newcomers to Quebec.

One of the main pillars of the CAQ party is to protect the French language in Quebec and the new plan focuses on selecting immigrants who already speak French. The Ministry of Immigration, Francization and Integration expects that 79% of economic immigrants in 2023 will have knowledge of the French language, as well as 66% of immigrants across all categories.

Immigration in Quebec was a much-debated topic during this year’s provincial election. As part of his campaign, Legault committed to allowing only 50,000 newcomers into Quebec a year throughout his term. He says this is the largest number of immigrants Quebec can accommodate as it is difficult to integrate newcomers into Quebec society, particularly those who need to learn French.

Quebec’s unique immigration system

Quebec is the only province in Canada that releases a yearly immigration levels plan. It is also the only province that has total control of its economic immigration admissions.

Quebec has more autonomy over its immigration programs due largely to the launch of its own immigration ministry in 1968. The province continued to push for more control over immigration until over 20 years later in 1991, the Quebec-Canada Accord gave the province the responsibility for setting its own admission targets.

Still, while Quebec selects the skilled workers it wishes to admit, immigration remains a shared responsibility between the federal and provincial governments and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has the final decision on all admissions, regardless of the class of immigration.

How to immigrate to Quebec

Anyone who wishes to immigrate to Quebec must be approved by both the provincial and federal governments. Quebec selects skilled immigrants according to its own criteria and procedures and candidates must apply directly to the province through one of its immigration programs.

If a candidate meets a program’s criteria and is selected by Quebec, they, and any accompanying family, will receive a Certificat de sélection du Québec (CSQ). This document is issued by the Ministère de l'Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration du Québec.

Once a candidate has a CSQ they must then apply to IRCC for permanent residence and pass the necessary medical, security and criminality checks.

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