Quebec is on the way to becoming the laughing stock of the world by turning its back on immigrant investors, deplores the Conseil du patronat du Québec (CPQ), which has just published its white paper to urgently relaunch economic immigration as a whole.
"Without saying that we are the laughing stock of the planet, in Quebec, we are really badly positioned to welcome immigrants", launches in the Journal Denis Hamel, vice-president of labor development policies at the CPQ .
“It sends the wrong message internationally that immigrant investors are not welcome,” he added.
While the Quebec labor market will have to fill more than 1.4 million jobs by 2026, the CPQ yesterday published its new White Paper on immigration to relaunch the debate in view of the fall elections.
According to employers, "the facts are overwhelming" and increasing the immigration thresholds to 80,000 or even 100,000 per year is vital given the strength of the economy and the aging Quebec population.
Requirement for French, recognition of prior learning, temporary foreign worker program... the CPQ has published 18 recommendations to turn the tide as quickly as possible.
"Since 2016, the number of immigrants arriving in Quebec on a permanent basis has been steadily decreasing, while the number of job vacancies has reached historic highs," warns the CPQ.
$4M investment for nothing
For Albert Valera, a wealthy American investor accepted by Quebec, it is the federal immigration delays that are nothing funny.
The entrepreneur who had to wait more than 19 months for a simple Immigration Canada file number finally got it, but he still has to wait to finalize his process.
"The federal government continues to use COVID-19 as an excuse for its poor performance and growing backlog," the man said.
"The $4 million+ I've invested in Quebec is totally at risk, especially if I can't get my work permit extended, which expires in September. That's no way to live your life," he sighs.
For Marc-André Séguin, of EXEO Avocats, the fact that the Quebec Immigrant Investor Program (PIIQ) has been closed since 2019, while that of the Americans has just undergone a facelift in mid-March, risks losing billions of investments.
The equivalent of a classroom
"In the end, taking into account the rejections and dropouts that will inevitably come, that's just enough more business immigrants to fill a high school classroom," he concludes.
In the past two years, in the manufacturing sector, more than $ 18 billion in contracts refused or missed opportunities have resulted from the lack of labor and the drop in immigration, according to the CPQ.
1. Increase the number of immigrants admitted to 80,000 or 100,000
2. Review the Skilled Worker Program
3. Submit Investor Programs
4. Re-examine the Level 7 French requirement
5. Adapt francization courses to reality
6. Prioritize people who know French
7. Have a French test adapted to the Quebec reality
8. Harmonize federal and provincial student requirements
9. Make the 30% low-wage worker limit permanent
10. Assess the “multi-employer” work permit for temporary foreign workers
Source: Quebec Employers Council white paper on immigration