Canada to Ignore Quebec’s Cap and Speed Up Family Reunification Immigration

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Canada to Ignore Quebec’s Cap and Speed Up Family Reunification Immigration
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Canada will bypass Quebec’s self-imposed cap on PR applicants to speed up family reunification, Immigration Minister Marc Miller says.

This comes after Immigration Canada’s months of failed deliberations with Quebec to increase its family reunification capacity, which Miller describes as “artificially low.”

“We’re talking about people who are husbands, wives, parents, grandparents, who are waiting unsuccessfully to be reunited with their families in Quebec,” said Miller in an interview with Radio-Canada.

“For me … it’s a question of social justice,” he said, calling the backlog of applicants a humanitarian crisis. Miller considers it a “moral duty to find a solution” to Quebec’s “refusal” to bolster family reunification.

Currently, Quebec has an annual 10,000 applicant cap for family reunification, which falls far below the number of people looking to apply.


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According to Miller, he has spent months “begging” Quebec’s Immigration Minister, Christine Frechette, to lift the cap, but he is tired of waiting.

He has instructed the federal immigration ministry to begin processing all applications for PR for family reunifications who have received the proper documents from the province of Quebec, Miller’s letter to Frechette on Sunday (which was obtained by Radio-Canada) reads.

As of January 31, 2024, that equates to 20,500 applications.

If the backlog worsens, IRCC will continue to grant PR to applicants within the usual timeframes. This will be down even if that would exceed levels set be Legault’s government.

Yahoo News reports that Miller’s decision could cause even further tensions with the CAQ government in Quebec, which is facing a Superior Court lawsuit over the family reunification delays.

Quebec spousal sponsorship applicants face a processing time of 34 months to bring their spouses to Canada, while those in the rest of Canada have a processing time of only 12 months.

For parents or grandparents, the wait is for 50 months, while the rest of Canada has a waiting time of 24 months.

Quebec has a lot to gain by the raised limit, Miller said.


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“I still think it’s a humanitarian gain, but also a political gain for Quebec to have these people join their families and thrive in Quebec,” he said.

“We have a lot of people threatening to leave Quebec so that their husbands, wives, parents and grandparents can join them elsewhere.”

“Quebec alone determines its permanent immigration targets. The federal government’s approach does not respect the will of the Quebec nation. It is unacceptable,” said Maude Méthot-Faniel, who is Fréchette’s press secretary, in a statement to Radio-Canada.

Méthot-Faniel said the Quebec government recognizes its delays for family reunification are significant, but it thinks that its approach to immigration is “balanced.”

The federal government’s move received criticism also received criticism from other sources. Alexis Brunelle-Duceppe, for example, who is the immigration critic for the Bloc Québécois, considers Ottawa’s mandate an encroachment into Quebec’s jurisdiction.

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Colin Singer
Colin Singer is an international acclaimed Canadian immigration lawyer and founder of immigration.ca featured on Wikipedia. Colin Singer is also founding director of the Canadian Citizenship & Immigration Resource Center (CCIRC) Inc. He served as an Associate Editor of ‘Immigration Law Reporter’, the pre-eminent immigration law publication in Canada. He previously served as an executive member of the Canadian Bar Association’s Quebec and National Immigration Law Sections and is currently a member of the Canadian Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Colin has twice appeared as an expert witness before Canada’s House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration. He is frequently recognized as a recommended authority at national conferences sponsored by government and non-government organizations on matters affecting Canada’s immigration and human resource industries. Since 2009, Colin has been a Governor of the Quebec Bar Foundation a non-profit organization committed to the advancement of the profession, and became a lifetime member in 2018.