Canada’s federal government must put an end to the lengthy delays in processing applications for permanent residency to Quebec, says the francophone province’s immigration minister.
“It is deplorable that the delays are so long for these immigrants – who have already been selected by Quebec – to get their permanent residency,” tweeted Quebec Immigration Minister Nadine Girault in French on Thursday.
Il est déplorable que les délais soient aussi longs pour que les personnes immigrantes sélectionnées par le Québec obtiennent leur résidence permanentes. Le fédéral doit mettre fin à cette incertitude.https://t.co/uSnQNQnCAz
— Nadine Girault (@NadineGirault) May 6, 2021
The processing time for applications for permanent residency in Quebec are reported as currently being more than two years long, 27 months, compared to six months in the rest of the country.
And the situation is getting worse, not better. In 2019, the processing time for applications to Quebec was 19 months.
Immigrants to Quebec must first apply for and receive a Quebec Selection Certificate (CSQ) from the province, before applying to the federal government for confirmation of their permanent residence.
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According to a news report on Radio-Canada, the francophone network of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), the federal department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has admitted it slowed down the processing of applications for permanent residency to Quebec.
Ottawa’s immigration minister, Marco Mendicino, has reportedly admitted there was a slowdown in the processing of these applications. According to Radio-Canada, the federal immigration minister’s staff initially attributed the slowdown to a request for a moratorium on these applications made by Quebec.
That allegation was quickly denied by the staff of Quebec’s former immigration minister who was then in office.
“Minister (Simon) Jolin-Barrette never asked the federal government for a moratorium or a stop on the processing of applications of qualified workers,” reportedly replied the former provincial immigration minister’s deputy chief of staff Marc-André Gosselin.
Ottawa later admitted there was no such moratorium and claimed there had been a misunderstanding due to the document from Quebec being in French.
Minister Denies Quebec At Fault
The province’s thresholds for immigration were then held out by Ottawa as the reason for the delays in the processing applications for permanent residency to Quebec.
But that explanation is also being rejected by Quebec.
“It is false to claim that the thresholds in Quebec are the reason,” tweeted Girault today. “Our thresholds were not reached in 2020 and yet the backlog and the delays at the federal level are higher than ever.
“Let’s work together in a constructive manner to resolve this situation which currently benefits no-one.”
Quebec is bullish on immigration, pumping $246 million into programs to attract and retain immigrants in its latest budget.
“Attracting and retaining immigrants to our communities, particularly those in the outlying regions, allows businesses to grow due to these skilled workers and helps resolve labour shortages in several of our economic sectors,” said Girault.
“These investments announced by the Quebec government will allow us to put in place more measures to effectively integrate immigrants so they can contribute fully to the development and prosperity of our province,” she said.
The money is earmarked to allow Quebec’s department of immigration, the Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration (MIFI), to beef up its processes to better recognize immigrants’ foreign qualifications, to recruit immigrants to outlying areas, to match the need for immigration to labour market needs, and to improve programs designed to integrate these newcomers into Quebecois society.
The funds are also to be used to boost French language education programs for immigrants and to attract more international students.
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The biggest chunk of the money – $130 million spread out over the coming decade – is to go to programs to recognize immigrants’ foreign qualifications.
Another $57 million of the budgeted funds will be spent over the next two years for programs to entice immigrants to settle in parts of the province with acute labour shortages and to help them integrate into those communities.
As Canada’s sole francophone province, Quebec puts a great emphasis on the French language and intends to invest $50 million over the next two years to teach the language to immigrants and support them financially as they take French language courses.
The province is also planning to inject $9.1 million of the budgeted amount over the next three years through economic development agencies in Montreal, Quebec City and Drummondville to attract foreign students.