According to the Quebec Immigration Plan for 2023, which was released on December 8, the province could admit up to 52,500 new permanent residents in 2023.
Quebec’s economic immigration programs will account for most new admissions in 2023, including the Quebec Skilled Worker Program (QSWP) and Québec Experience Program (PEQ).
Quebec Immigration Planning for 2020-2022 remains true to the targets established during the public consultation held in the summer of 2019.
A maximum target of 33,900 newcomers has been set for the economic category, accounting for more than 65% of planned admissions. A total of 29,500 skilled workers and 4,300 business immigrants are expected to be welcomed by the province under this category, including investors, entrepreneurs, and self-employed individuals.
Families reuniting, refugees, and other immigration programs are expected to bring in the remaining 18,100 new permanent residents.
Every year, the Immigration Department of Quebec presents its immigration plan. To date, plans have only been released outlining targets for the coming year. It outlines the number of new permanent residents the province intends to admit in the coming year, as well as the categories into which they will be admitted. However, in 2023 a consultation will take place in which the province will create a multi-year plan beginning in 2024.
French-Speaking Immigrants are the Focus
Since the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) won a second term as governing party earlier this year, the 2023 plan stays close to the 2022 plan.
François Legault, the current premier, announced the 2022 plan in order to gradually increase the number of newcomers after reducing admission targets in 2019. To improve the selection and francization of newcomers to Quebec, the CAQ introduced a 20 percent decrease that year.
CAQ’s new plan focuses on selecting immigrants who already speak French, as one of its main pillars is to protect the French language in Quebec. According to the Ministry of Immigration, Francization and Integration, 79% of economic immigrants, as well as 66% of immigrants across all categories, are expected to speak French by 2023.
In this year’s provincial election, Legault committed to allowing only 50,000 newcomers to enter Quebec per year as part of his campaign. In his view, this is the largest number of immigrants Quebec is able to accommodate because it is hard to integrate newcomers into Quebec society, particularly those who need to learn French.
The Unique Immigration System in Quebec
It is the only province in Canada that releases a yearly immigration levels plan as well as having total control over economic immigration admissions.
As a result of the establishment of Quebec’s own immigration ministry in 1968, it has more control over its immigration programs. In 1991, the Quebec-Canada Accord gave the province the authority to set its own admission targets over 20 years later, when the province continued pushing for more control over immigration.
Despite Quebec’s selection of skilled workers, immigration remains a shared responsibility between the federal and provincial governments, with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) making the final decision on all admissions, regardless of immigration class.
Immigrating to Quebec
Quebec selects skilled immigrants according to its own criteria and procedures and candidates must apply directly to the province through one of its immigration programs if they wish to immigrate.
The Minister of Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration of Quebec will issue a Certificat de sélection du Québec (CSQ) to applicants who meet program criteria and are selected.
As soon as a candidate receives a CSQ, they must apply to IRCC for permanent residence and pass medical, security, and criminal background checks.