Delays in the processing of applications for permanent residency in Quebec are because of the province’s low annual immigration targets, says federal Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino.
“Let’s be clear: Quebec sets its own annual immigration targets and we receive more applications under Quebec’s Skilled Worker Program (PTQQ – Programme des travailleurs qualifiés du Québec) than there are spaces allowed by Quebec,” said Mendicino in a French-language interview with the Le Devoir daily newspaper.
“This is why there are so many applications in the queue.”
The francophone province did raise its annual immigration targets this year. Mendicino described this as encouraging but then added that, when it comes to clearing up the backlog of permanent residency applications, the ball is in Quebec’s court.
Quebec Temporary Workers With PR Application Delays To Get Open Work Permits
Ottawa Must End Lengthy Delays On Quebec Immigration Applications, Demands Province
Quebec To Tackle Acute Labour Shortage By Increasing Immigration Post-COVID-19
According to the federal immigration minister, there are 50,000 skilled workers waiting for permanent residency in Quebec but the province’s annual immigration targets do not allow them all to be approved.
“The annual immigration target set by Quebec for 2021 is a maximum of 26,000 people,” said Mendicino. “That’s the reality.”
Two weeks ago, Quebec called on Ottawa to speed up the processing of permanent residency applications to the province.
Permanent Residency Application Delays ‘Deplorable’
“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.
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.
The situation is also getting worse, not better. In 2019, the processing time for applications to Quebec was 19 months.
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.
The federal immigration minister’s staff initially attributed the slowdown to a request made by the Province of Quebec for a moratorium on these applications.
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 in French.
Ottawa later admitted there was no such moratorium and claimed there had been a misunderstanding due to the document from Quebec being in French.
Mendicino’s suggestion that it is Quebec’s annual immigration targets that are to blame for the current slowdown has ruffled feathers in the provincial capital despite the federal minister’s reassurances that he is not looking to rehash the past.
Mendicino Wants To Work With Quebec
“I want to concentrate on today and the future,” he reportedly told Le Devoir. “And I will deliver all the workers Quebec needs for its economic recovery. That is the most important thing for me and my government.”
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.