Quebec suspends entrepreneur and self-employed immigration programs for non-French speakers – Montreal

Some entrepreneurs who wish to immigrate to Quebec through the Quebec Entrepreneur Program (PAQ) and the Quebec Self-Employed Program (RPQ) will need to modify their plans.

As of December 28, programs are no longer available to immigrants who speak English.

In a press release announcing the decision last week, Immigration Minister Christine Fréchette called it a first step in bolstering permanent immigration of Francophones to Quebec.

“To say that this will be another measure that would help protect the French language in the province is very disappointing and frankly shocking,” said immigration lawyer Marc-Andrée Séguin.

Only 75 non-French-speaking candidates per year have been selected. There is no such quota for francophones.

Winston Chen – who led entrepreneur programs in 2018 – was disappointed to hear the news.

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« We are only cutting off the talent pool of entrepreneurs and potential entrepreneurs, » Chen said. » It is not the moment. We also have a shortage of entrepreneurs and a shortage of new businesses.

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Immigration experts say the decision will only hurt Quebec.

« What we want is to make sure that Quebec is on top, » said Christine Poulin, immigration consultant. « We need people, we want to attract people who work with the top. »

Susan Harris, an artist from New York, was considering moving to Montreal and possibly opening her own gallery.

« This summer I bought a house in Montreal and started getting to know some people in the arts and going to galleries and museums, » Harris said. « Each trip has made me happier and more excited to do this. »

But Harris received a letter in the mail last week advising her that her request would not be processed.

« I don’t see where my application for residency as a technically non-French-speaking person endangers anyone or certainly French culture, » said Harris, who says he has done everything possible to learn and speak French.

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Immigration experts worry that people like Harris will move to other provinces and say the immigration department could have handled it differently.

“They absolutely could have made the selection certificate conditional on these candidates actually demonstrating proficiency in French,” Séguin said. « But they could impose this requirement at the end of the process rather than at the beginning. »

Premier François Legault said in his opening speech to the 43rd session of the National Assembly that halting the decline of French in the province is one of his top priorities.

According to Legault, Francophone immigration will be essential to achieving this objective.

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