On Oct. 29 Immigration Quebec released their immigration targets for 2021. The new targets include a modest increase in the total number of applications they will accept.
Immigration Quebec’s targets for 2021
Under the proposed plan, Immigration Quebec will accept 44,500 to 47,500 admissions in 2021. This a small increase from 2020, where the government’s plan was to accept 40,000. Quebec will also add an additional 7,000 spots to the 2021 levels to account for the shortfall in admissions from 2020.
Of the 2021 targets, economic immigration should represent 62% of all immigration applications processed. Family sponsorship and humanitarian and compassionate grounds applications will account for the remaining 38%.
Three new pilot programs announced
On Oct. 28, Immigration Quebec also announced the creation of three new immigration pilot programs. The pilot programs are currently under public consultation and would be open to applications in early 2021.
The three new pilot programs are for workers in the following types of occupations:
- Orderlies and nurses aids
- Those working in the fields of artificial intelligence, information technology, and visual effects
- Workers in food processing
Each pilot program will accept no more than 550 applications. 550 applications is a very low quota for a province as large as Quebec. It’s unlikely these programs will have a significant impact.
Immigration Quebec’s 2020 target shortfalls
Quebec’s immigration target for 2020 was 40,000—10,000 fewer applications than in 2019. The Oct. 29 release highlights that Quebec only accepted 59-70% of the applications set forth in the 2020 immigration plan due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
This means that Quebec accepted 13,000-18,000 fewer applications than intended for 2020. A portion of the unfilled quotas from this year will be added to Quebec’s 2021 targets but at best, this only accounts for half of the losses in 2020. Combine this shortfall with a 2020 immigration target that was already reduced by 20% from 2019, Quebec is seeing a sharp decline in the total number of newcomers welcomed to the province compared to as recently as two years ago.
Canada has a demographics problem. We have an ageing population and a low birthrate. Quebec is no exception. The demographic and economic effects of lower immigration rates on the Quebec economy might not be felt immediately, but making up the difference in the years to come won’t have the same benefits.
Newcomers usually take time to adjust to their new country. Immigrants who have lived in Canada longer tend to have better economic outcomes than their freshly arrived counterparts. The children of newcomers do even better.
If the Quebec government realizes years later that it needs to sharply raise immigration targets to address demographic shortfalls, it will not see the same economic benefits as gradual and incremental increases would.