On November 22, the Chamber welcomed for the first time as a speaker the Minister of Immigration, Francization and Integration, Simon Jolin-Barrette. The Minister took the opportunity to offer an update on the government’s reform of the immigration system in Quebec. He also presented his vision for fostering better integration of immigrants.
Here are some key ideas from his visit to the Chamber.
A much needed reform
There is no question that Quebec and Montréal are attractive. Given the sustained economic growth and the many vacant positions on the job market, it is no wonder a great deal of international talent is choosing Quebec as a land of opportunity.
From the outset, Minister Jolin-Barrette maintained that immigration is a priority for the Government of Quebec.
“Making immigration a success is an important issue for Quebec,” Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette said. “We may disagree on the process and the numbers, but one thing is clear: Quebec needs immigration, and our ambition is to make it a success.”
He noted that the government is sparing no effort in tackling this challenge. In addition to the reform under way, the Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration (MIFI) has been allocated additional resources: $750 million over five years. This is a 42% increase in the department’s budget.
According to the Minister, four orientations will make this reform a success:
- Streamlining processes to make the MIFI more agile and fostering cooperation with all stakeholders.
- Better selecting immigrants to meet the needs of the job market, in part through the introduction of the ARRIMA platform.
- Improving the MIFI’s resources to better support immigrants in their francization efforts and integration to Quebec society and to support businesses that want to hire them.
- Increasing the attraction of skilled international talent to Quebec.
“Making immigration a success is not just a slogan; we mean it,” Mr. Jolin-Barrette said. “This is a societal challenge that demands ambition. Quebec must become a role model in selecting and welcoming immigrants and offer support for francization and integration to ensure as many immigrants as possible succeed.”
Bank on the best candidates
Minister Jolin-Barrette also said he intended to hold consultations with stakeholders about the reform of the Québec Experience Program, including with businesses and schools.
“You all have needs in your businesses, and you are more familiar than anyone with the reality on the ground, the challenges and problems,” Minister Jolin-Barrette said. “This is why we are planning to hold consultations to discuss these issues, to identify possible solutions.”
Position Quebec internationally as a land of welcome
Quebec must succeed in attracting top talent in a climate of intense global competition. This is why the Minister is banking on an increased international presence for MIFI, in cooperation with the Ministère des Relations internationales et de la Francophonie.
This effort to deploy resources beyond our borders is based on two primary objectives. First, it will make it possible to start preparing and integrating candidates for immigration to Quebec ahead of time. Second, it will help the MIFI strengthen its presence abroad and have direct contact with potential candidates.
In closing, Mr. Jolin-Barrette reiterated his commitment to working closely with the federal government to attract and retain temporary foreign workers.
“The temporary worker route is a quick solution to meet business needs", Minister Jolin-Barrette said in closing. “The program is under federal jurisdiction. Where our department comes into the picture is in receiving and welcoming workers.”