Canada immigration news: Quebec is increasing the amount of financial aid it gives to immigrants taking its full and part-time French-language courses this year.
In a statement, Quebec’s ministry responsible for immigration and francization, the Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration (MIFI), noted it is bumping up the weekly benefit for those taking a full-time French course to $205.
That’s up only $5 from the previous $200 in financial assistance per week.
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It’s a much smaller increase than last’s years raise of $12 in financial assistance from $188 per week.
The 2.5 per cent increase in the weekly benefit this year for these full-time students is also much less than the current rate of inflation which stands at 7.7 per cent.
Those enrolled in part-time French courses are seeing an even smaller increase in the financial assistance they are getting.
Those taking French classes for at least three hours per week are seeing that benefit go up by only $1 per week, to $26 from $25. Last year, the province raised that weekly financial assistance by $10 from $15.
In addition to the weekly benefit paid to take the courses themselves, MIFI also provides a lump sum of $25 per week for transportation and another $25 for each child who needs to go to daycare while his or her parent is taking these French classes on a full-time basis.
Those taking French courses part-time where any one class is at least three hours long can get a weekly benefit of $9 weekly for daycare for that time provided they are taking courses for at least four hours during the week.
Immigrants taking these classes can also get additional financial assistance if they normally have to take care of a handicapped person.
There are, of course, conditions related to this financial assistance. When both spouses are taking a French-language course, only one of them can get the benefit for daycare costs. The student taking the classes can also not claim the daycare benefit in cases where the other spouse is taking care of the child during class hours.
And the provincial government will also not provide this financial assistance in situations where the student or his or her spouse is already receiving social assistance, employment insurance benefits, or financial aid from any of four other provincial assistance programs.
Free French Courses Offered By Province Run For Up To 12 Weeks
Quebec’s full-time French courses, which run for eight to 12 weeks for 25 to 30 hours per week, are offered throughout the province to immigrants at least 16 years old as of June 30 of the current year when they sign up.
“French is the official language of Quebec,” the province notes on its website, in French. “Communicating in French is essential to participate in Quebecois society whether it is to get a job or take part in the life of the community.”
Part-time classes, which are also offered to those at least 16 years of age and run eight to 12 weeks, can consist of as little as four hours per week of class time to 15 hours per week.
“Your knowledge of the French language is something which will be taken into account should you wish to immigrate to Quebec as a permanent resident,” notes the province. “French language skills can be required by some immigration programs should you wish to change your status from temporary to permanent resident.”
Last year, Quebec welcomed 50,280 new permanent residents. Of those, a little more than half, 26,855 came through economic immigration programs, including 25,040 who immigrated to the province through the Quebec Skilled Worker program.
Although applications to the Quebec Immigrant Investor Program are now no longer being accepted until at least Apr. 1 next year, the program did bring in 1,610 new permanent residents to the province in 2021.
Immigration To Quebec Expected To Spike This Year To About 71,275 New Permanent Residents
This year, immigration to Quebec is expected to skyrocket to a record high of roughly 71,275 new permanent residents, up more than 41.7 per cent from the number last year, as the province tries to make up for immigrants who were unable to come at the height of the pandemic.
But that spike in immigration in Quebec this year is not an indication the province is significantly increasing its immigration levels. At least, that’s what Immigration Minister Jean Boulet told reporters earlier this year. Business groups have been lobbying Quebec to increase immigration to deal with severe labour shortages.
“The limit on the number of immigrants allowed, based on the multi-year plan, limits new permanent residents to Quebec to 52,500 per year,” said Boulet in French.
Quebec is only planning to accept more immigrants this year because there was an 18,775 shortfall in 2020 between the number of immigrants the province was then planning to welcome and the number who actually came during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The province is also expecting an increase in temporary foreign workers from the roughly 30,000 who worked in the province last year.
“With the simplified applications and the addition of several occupations, trades that will benefit from fast-track processing for temporary immigration, there will certainly be more (temporary foreign workers in Quebec) to meet the demands of Quebec businesses,” the immigration minister has said.