Quebec immigration program solely accepting French candidates
An immigration program designed for entrepreneurs will now only accept applications from French speakers in Quebec.
It is part of the Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ) promise to have 100 per cent of newcomers to the province be francophone by 2026.
Some who work in immigration are worried this will send the wrong message and hurt Quebec’s economy.
The Quebec entrepreneur program offers a path to permanent residency and there is no limit to the number of French-speaking applicants who can apply.
Currently, each year, 75 non-French-speaking entrepreneurs were also accepted.
“By having an entrepreneur immigration program, we can attract the best entrepreneurs, but knowing that there is also the language issue, I think that 75 non-French speaking entrepreneurs are a good balance,” said Winston Chan, an economic advisor to the G20 task force.
The G20 Task Force recommended the program, and Chan said Quebec’s decision to stop accepting non-Francophone applicants will hurt the economy.
“What we live in is a competition among countries to attract the best entrepreneurs and the best start-ups, and by cutting the non-French speaking entrepreneurs’ immigration program, it will cut the pool of talent,” said Chan
The move comes less than a month after Premier Francois Legault announced that he plans to make economic immigration 100 per cent French by the end of his second term.
In a news release last week, Legault’s immigration minister Christine Frechette said, “we are acting to ensure the survival and vitality of the French language while promoting the successful integration of immigrants into Quebec society.”
Immigration consultant Christine Poulin said the decision will make Quebec less attractive to investors.
“For me, I’m not afraid of all of 75 people,” said Poulin. “I’m just afraid of what we are losing.
“These people have money, they have technology, and they are going to bring to our economy, so that’s us that are losing at the same time because when we are going to have some candidates coming to knock at our door, what are we going to suggest to them? Go to Ontario.”
Chan said he hopes the government will at least loosen the proficiency requirements to allow entrepreneurs with intermediate French.
“We should not underestimate the entrepreneur’s will to integrate into French-speaking Quebec society,” he said.
The changes came into effect on Dec. 28