Quebec immigration minister Jean Boulet has taken over after Nadine Girault was forced to step down due to health issues. Boulet will combine his duties as Quebec’s labour minister with his immigration responsibilities.
Premier Francois Legault announced the news on November 24, with Boulet citing his responsibilities as labour minister as being directly linked to immigration. Boulet congratulated Legault and expressed his support for Girault on Twitter in response to his new role. “Immigration must meet the needs of our economy. By focusing more on francization, all of Quebec comes out on top!” he tweeted, in French.
Boulet stated that he had already scheduled a meeting with federal Immigration Minister Sean Fraser to discuss the processing backlog. “The delays in admission for people who are here, who have a Quebec selection certificate, who speak French, who work in Quebec, are unacceptable,” he said. “Ottawa has to not only recognize this but ensure it has an action plan in place to resolve this as quickly as possible.”
Boulet has been handling the immigration issue for a while now, having unveiled Quebec’s Immigration Levels Plan for 2022 in the National Assembly in late October. In 2022, Quebec will welcome up to 70,500 new immigrants, including 52,500 under the earlier announced strategy, and 18,000 to make up for the shortfall in newcomer registrations caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Because Quebec immigration is expected to fall short of its 2021 immigration objective, the rebalancing amount is high. During the previous year, the Ministry of Immigration, Francisation, and Integration (MIFI) announced plans to welcome up to 54,500 newcomers, including 7,000 to assist make up for a shortage expected in 2020, when the pandemic was at its peak.
According to forecasts, Quebec will only receive a maximum of 47,100 arrivals this year, with the number falling as low as 43,100.
“Our government is resolutely committed to ensuring that immigration contributes to a strong recovery of the Quebec economy, to the vitality of the French language and of our regions,” Boulet said at the time. “This responsible immigration plan, which includes the necessary catch-up to mitigate the effects of the pandemic on admissions, is accompanied by all the measures that we have put in place for the francization and integration of immigrants,” he further added.
“For immigration to help meet the current challenges of labour shortages, it is imperative that permanent residences be issued more quickly by the federal government.”
The economic group will continue to dominate Quebec immigration, accounting for up to 46,600 people in 2022, or 66% of the total (including rebalancing).
In 2021, Quebec is expected to attract up to 27,800 economic immigrants. Including the rebalancing, a family reunion is predicted to bring in 11,600 immigrants in 2022, accounting for 16 per cent of all entrants, somewhat higher than the 11,400 expected in 2021.
When the rebalancing data are added, Quebec plans to admit up to 9,000 refugees in 2022. This is up from 6,300 in 2021 and represents 13% of the entire figure. In the category of “other immigrants,” Quebec expects to welcome 3,100 newcomers in 2022, accounting for 4% of the total. In 2021, it will be able to accommodate up to 1,600 people in this category.