Quebec will welcome 51,000 new immigrants in 2017 despite objections of the opposition.
The Quebec government is following its plan to welcome about 51,000 new immigrants in 2017. This week, Kathleen Weil, the Minister of Immigration of Quebec, confirmed this number and also shared the details of the plan to allocate additional $31 million for the French language programs for newcomers. The total government expenditures in this area will now be $168 million per annum.
Despite objections of opposition parties, Weil insisted that the Liberal Party’s plan to sustain annual immigration at the level of 50,000 is the best course for the province which enjoys a unique immigration agreement with the Federal Government allowing the province to choose its economic immigrants independently. Weil added that she hopes to increase the number of immigrants to 52,500 by 2019.
As per the Government’s plan, the economic immigrants will comprise more than 63% of all newcomers (59% now). These qualified workers and businessmen arrive to Canada under different programs, including Quebec Experience Class Program (Programme de l’expérience Québécoise or PEQ), Quebec Skilled Worker Program (QSWP) and Quebec Investor Program.
In her conversation with the journalists, Weil denied that her plan is opposed to by two major opposition parties, separatist Partie Québécois and center-right Coalition Avenir Québec national party, both headed by the leaders calling for a reduction in immigration in order to preserve the unique features of Quebec.
“I held three consultations. No one brought up the matter of reducing immigration. People just want to be certain that when we make investments as per our plan, we invest into the French language courses and providing jobs for these people”, – Weil confirmed, adding that a new jobs bank, where immigrants can compare their skills to available jobs, will be opened next year.
Quebec also accepts new immigrants under state Federal programs of family reunion and 11,500 people will reunite with their families in the province next year.
Finally, a comparatively high number of Syrian refugees made up an important part of the Federal Government plan, and Weil hopes to welcome another 8,500 refugees in Quebec in 2017.