Quebec will welcome a record more than 100,000 immigrants in 2022

In addition to the 70,000 regular immigrants admitted this year, Quebec is also allowing a growing number of temporary foreign workers to be admitted. Since 2017, that number has increased by around 80%. We have grown from almost 18,000 temporary foreign workers in 2017 to about 33,000 admitted foreign workers in 2019 and 2020, with a similar trend in 2021 and 2022.

In addition to these regular and supervised arrivals, there are also asylum seekers. In the first three months of 2022, more than 7,000 people crossing the border irregularly and seeking refuge were intercepted at the border with Quebec, on Roxham Road in Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle.

The Legault Government currently expects between 30,000 and 35,000 people to arrive via Roxham Road this year.

Closing Roxham Road: A simplified picture

Quebec is asking the federal government to ‘close Roxham Road’. It’s a simple image that politicians like to use to capture the public’s imagination. In reality, the motion is much more complex and involves both the Trudeau government in Ottawa and the Biden government in Washington.

As things stand, Quebec expects the arrival of 30,000 to 35,000 people via Roxham Road in 2022.

Photo: Radio Canada / Romain Schué

It is about the agreement on safe third countries between Canada and the United States, which recognize each other as host and refuge countries where people can seek asylum and protection. Therefore, a person who is on American soil and wishes to seek asylum in Canada cannot go through the regular route, which is through customs. She must follow an irregular path and seek refuge with the authorities.

Thus, over time, an informal passage emerged, Roxham Road, easily accessible between New York State and Quebec. With the passage of time and the number of people using this route, the RCMP set up a station there to formalize reception and monitor this migratory movement.

So you understand that the image of physically closing Roxham Road and erecting a fence there, as conjured up in 2018 by former Parti Québécois leader Jean-François Lisée, is particularly simplistic. To close one path is to open thousands of others. Otherwise, like Donald Trump, we would have to call for a massive wall to be built from one end of the country to the other.

It is the Canada-US agreement that needs to be reviewed, and the Trudeau administration says it is in the process of negotiating it with the US government.

Meanwhile, Minister Jean Boulet’s proposal to ensure the transfer of people crossing Roxham Road irregularly to another location in Canada is probably the most appropriate in the circumstances.

Irregular crossings are almost exclusively operated on Roxham Road, while asylum seekers are mainly in the eastern United States, particularly in New York or Florida. Access to the New York State-Quebec border is easy at several points.

Immigrants to alleviate labor shortages

François Legault’s government seems to understand that Quebec needs immigrants. In the debates in the House of Representatives, the Prime Minister accused the Liberals of only relying on immigration to alleviate labor shortages, without taking into account their integration and their knowledge of French.

In fact, however, the Legault government has decided to welcome a record number of immigrants to Quebec in 2022. These immigrants are among the many solutions that need to be implemented to alleviate the economic pressures created by labor shortages.

First, Quebec has decided to make up for the shortages caused by the pandemic, which has slowed population movements. Quebec welcomed just over 40,000 immigrants in 2019, then 25,000 in 2020 before surging to over 40,000 in 2021.

In 2022, Quebec will welcome a record number of approximately 70,000 immigrants.

Furthermore, after lowering the intake target to 40,000 immigrants when he came to power, François Legault announced that he would increase this number to 50,000 per year, an increase of 20-25%. He indicated that he wanted to limit that number to 50,000.

François Legault’s government has also opted to increase the number of foreign migrant workers on Québec soil. At the current rate, Quebec will welcome more than 30,000 visitors this year and, as we shall see, will match or beat the record set in recent years.

At the end of 2021, an agreement was reached with the federal government to bring more temporary immigrants into low-wage jobs. In addition, companies can hire any number of temporary workers for low-skilled jobs. And there are even more professions that no longer have to go through a secondment.

Gerald Fillion

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