- The government of Quebec will pay new immigrants $185 if they attend an "integration session" under new plans announced today by the Minister of Immigration, Diversity and Inclusion.
- Though the CAQ wants to cut the number of refugees that arrive in the province, it plans to welcome more economic immigrants.
Since the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) won a majority government in October of last year, one of its main objectives has been reform of the immigration system with a focus on integration and addressing the labour shortage in the province by welcoming more skilled workers.
In plans announced today, the CAQ outlined several initiatives to achives these goals. Among these initiatives is new program that will pay new immigrants for their participation in an "integration course."
The CAQ is currently negotiating with the federal government to reduce the number of refugees coming into the country each year from a little over 8,000 to 7,500.
On the other hand, the CAQ wants to increase the number of economic migrants that the province accepts from about 29,000 to 34,000.
Simon Jolin-Barrette, Minister of Immigration, Diversity, and Inclusion, has stated that the government wants potential migrants to have more help throughout both the immigration process as well as what the CAQ calls their subsequent "integration" into Quebec society.
The new $20 million/year "personalized accompaniment" plan announced today has as its aim to help immigrants assimilate "faster" once they arrive in the province.
Immigrants will be set up with an immigration agent before they even arrive in Quebec. This agent will help them sign up to French classes, attend info sessions, and find jobs.
In fact, the government plans to spend over $70 million on French immersion programs. Many immigrants would be eligible for compensation if they take French classes.
Immigrants may also receive payments from the government if they attend what the government is calling "Objective: Integration" sessions, that will familiarize immigrants with "the sociocultural reality of Quebec and its job market." If people attend these sessions, they will receive $185.
The government will further invest funds to send immigration agents to the airport to meet new arrivals, after which they would be able to meet with an immigration officer within 5 business days.
The agents will provide a "rigorous follow-up" of the new arrivals, and adapt the integration plans to the needs of the immigrants.
The province will be hiring 78 agents for this express purpose.
Despite a bump in the number of "economic migrants," Quebec's current plans to cap immigration at 40,000 people per year would still consitute a 20% drop in total immigration in the province as compared with the previous years, says the Montreal Gazette.
A UN representative told the Quebec government that the province should, and could, be taking in more refugees, telling the Gazette that the CAQ's statements about the province not being able to welcome more refugees are not justified.
Stay tuned for more news about changes to the Quebec immigration system.