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We need a regional immigration strategy, says the Institut du Québec

In order to alleviate the labor shortage, which is greater outside the Montreal area, theIDQ proposes a more targeted approach, which would be more effective in helping regional businesses in need of labour. The Institute states that nearly half of the population of Quebec lives in the greater Montreal area and that % des immigrants qui arrivent au Québec s’y établissent en premier lieu”,”text”:”près de 85% des immigrants qui arrivent au Québec s’y établissent en premier lieu”}}”>nearly 85% of immigrants who arrive in Quebec settle there first.

The current policy of the Legault government, aimed at training immigrants in the regions of Quebec, is not working, says the Institut du Québec. This is a situation that undeniably slows down the economic development of several regions. […] There are many vacancies in the regions and the population is aging there.

The 10,000 temporary immigrants, who could benefit from the new program proposed by theIDQ for the regions, would be added to the 50,000 immigrants already received annually in Quebec under existing programs.

This proposal can be found in a study presented by the Institut du Québec: Portrait of immigration in Quebec, economic integration on the rise… but also the needsby researchers Daye Diallo, Mia Homsy and Simon Savard.

Long delays and disorderly immigration

Furthermore, the Institut du Québec wonders about the processing times for permanent immigration files in Quebec by the federal government. More than 90,000 files are currently pending.

This slowness puts Quebec at a considerable disadvantage, because these disproportionate administrative delays unduly prolong the period of uncertainty experienced by applicants and harm the attractiveness and competitiveness of Quebec, in particular to the detriment of Ontario, which has much longer delays short.

It must also be said that a new phenomenon has been occurring in recent years: the number of temporary immigrants is rising sharply. 671 à 61668. […] alors que le solde des immigrants temporaires représentait en moyenne 9% du solde des immigrants internationaux entre 2012 et 2016, ce pourcentage a grimpé à 64% en 2019.”,”text”:”Entre 2016 et 2019, le solde de résidents non permanents (les immigrants dits temporaires) est passé de 12671 à 61668. […] alors que le solde des immigrants temporaires représentait en moyenne 9% du solde des immigrants internationaux entre 2012 et 2016, ce pourcentage a grimpé à 64% en 2019.”}}”>Between 2016 and 2019, the balance of non-permanent residents (so-called temporary immigrants) fell from 12,671 to 61,668. […] while net temporary immigrants averaged 9% of net international immigrants between 2012 and 2016, this percentage climbed to 64% in 2019.

This transformation is disorderly and has perverse effects, according to the Institut du Québec, which calls for a deep thinking on this issue. Temporary immigrants sometimes face social and economic difficulties that natives and landed immigrants do not face (work permit linked to an abusive or unfair employer, less favorable working conditions, ignorance of the rights associated with the work permit, etc.).

A solution that works

We have often spoken about this: Quebec needs to use all available solutions to try to calm the labor shortage, which is hampering economic growth and the development of businesses and regions.

The labor shortage is growing. There are fewer unemployed people per vacancy and more and more people leaving the labor market. Immigration is not the only solution, but it is one that already exists. From 2011 to 2021, the share of immigrants in total employment in Quebec rose from 12.4% to 19.2%, and even 30.7% in Montreal.

The immigration solution is increasingly effective: the unemployment rate for immigrants aged 25 to 54 fell from 12.7% in April 2012 to 5.3% in April 2022. This is lower than in Ontario. And the employment rate of immigrants aged 25 to 54 is rising sharply. It was 69.9% in April 2012. It is now 81.9%.

L’IDQ proposes that Quebec:

  • reduce the French language and diploma requirements in certain permanent immigration pilot programs set up in food processing, for beneficiary attendant positions and in certain permanent technological sectors;

Mitigating population aging

In 2019, the Institut du Québec published a study which showed that an increase in immigration thresholds would lead to higher real GDP growth, but would, in turn, create a reduction in GDP per capita due to the fact that immigrants tend to earn lower incomes than natives.

GDP per capita could also fall, however, if companies reduce investment and development due to lack of labor.

An increase in immigration, moreover, could increase the demographic weight of Quebec in Canada and lead to a reduction in the proportion of the population aged 65 and over. But the worker-to-retiree ratio would hardly change, falling from 2.1 to 2.3 in 2040.

It seems quite clear that immigration will not solve the issue of the aging of the population. But can we deprive ourselves of this part of the solution? The Institut du Québec claims that the number of people aged 70 and over has increased by 20% from 2016 to 2021, while those aged 25-54 have only increased by 0.6%.

Immigration, a false solution, according to Pierre Fortin

We must not overestimate the solution of immigration, says Pierre Fortin in a study submitted to the Ministry of Immigration, Francisation and Integration of Quebec, May 6, 2022. Recognizing that immigration is the main driver of population growthPierre Fortin affirms, in return, that being too open to welcoming immigrants can have harmful effects.

: 1)une congestion et une confusion administratives majeures; 2)peu de résultats économiques probants; et 3)un risque social accru d’attiser la xénophobie et d’encourager le rejet de l’immigration.”,”text”:”La nouvelle politique fédérale basée sur une cible ambitieuse d’immigration permanente et un recours étendu à l’immigration temporaire comme voie de passage vers l’immigration permanente a produit trois choses: 1)une congestion et une confusion administratives majeures; 2)peu de résultats économiques probants; et 3)un risque social accru d’attiser la xénophobie et d’encourager le rejet de l’immigration.”}}”>The new federal policy based on an ambitious permanent immigration target and extensive use of temporary immigration as a pathway to permanent immigration has produced three things: 1) major administrative congestion and confusion; 2) few convincing economic results; and 3) an increased social risk of stoking xenophobia and encouraging rejection of immigration.

Pierre Fortin affirms that the Canadian policy entails for Quebec a demographic minority within Canadaa loss of power over permanent immigration and a probable decline in the francization of immigrants.

Contrary to what the Federal Advisory Council on Economic Growth chaired by Dominic Barton in 2016 and 2017 suggests, there is no scientific evidence that growth in Canadians’ standard of living would respond positively (or negatively) to accelerated immigration and population expansionwrites economist Pierre Fortin.

He also adds that the hope of combating the aging of the population with immigration is contradicted by the research literature.

Since the average age of immigrants is younger than that of the host population, it is tempting to believe that increasing immigration will rejuvenate the population and ease the burden of aging. Unfortunately, this is a false hope. […] The momentum of the aging of the host population is far too strong to be more than marginally countered by immigration. Immigrants often arrive with their elderly parents and then age themselves. Those who believe that immigration is an antidote to aging and the pressure it puts on pensions and health care costs are wrong.

And we must not believe that immigration will help reduce the labor shortage. The scarcity of labor initially alleviated by the increased supply of labor ends up resurfacing at the other end of the economic circuit because it eventually generates an increase in the demand for labor. -work. […] It is theoretically possible that the arrival of more people of working age will lead to an increase, rather than an alleviation, of labor scarcity.

Finally, Quebec must take full, effective and independent control of temporary immigrationin addition to regain direct control of permanent immigration.

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