French-speaking jobs: Quebec’s plan to attract more French-speaking newcomers is baffling some business owners, who say they require immigrants from a variety of backgrounds to manage a tight labor market in the Canadian province.
Unlike other provinces, Quebec has to choose its economic immigrants. The government earlier lowered the number of new permanent residents, depending more on temporary workers, saying it had improved the francophone share of financial migrants.
Premier François Legault’s Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) is committed to saving the French, which they say is unsafe in largely of English-speaking North America, ahead of the October 3 election.
His government declared a new minister for the French and passed a comprehensive law that, among other things, needed newcomers to obtain most of the non-health services in the French after six months in the province.
While Legault movement to draw more francophones, some business owners warn that the move could put immigrants with significant skills. Quebec has the second-highest job vacancy rate in Canada among the provinces.
Montreal entrepreneur Vince Guzzo, whose businesses include restaurants and movie theaters, said he is desperate for dishwashers, no matter what language they speak.
“I’ll download an app… and if I have to, my phone will decode it into Punjabi,” Gujjo told Reuters.
As of the fourth quarter of 2021, Quebec accounts for about 40% of Canada’s counted 81,000 vacant manufacturing jobs, according to statistics from Statistics Canada. Manufacturing accounted for 12.6% of Quebec’s GDP in 2021 – more than any other sector.
“We’re not speaking that French isn’t important. But it evolves a limiting element when we want to draw the best people and talent,” said Veronique Proulx, president of Quebec Manufacturers & Expo.
He called Quebec’s shift toward temporary work a “band-aid” to manufacturing’s labor need. “We have a few companies that are examining to shut down show lines.”
Quebec Minister Jean Bolet, who is responsible for labor and immigration, said via email that his government had accepted steps to draw foreign students and workers into important sectors. He said the new law would have services that would make understanding French easier.
Quebec plans to bring in more than 71,000 permanent residents in 2022 when immigration numbers fell to 25,225 in 2020 due to the pandemic.
Bolet said the CAQ deliberately got in fewer new permanent residents after arriving in power in 2018 to help incorporate newcomers, and that it was trying to better recognize foreign credentials.
Quebec’s share of Canada’s total new permanent residents dropped from 21.3% in 2012 to about 12.4% last year, according to government data.
Quebec also bears the risk of failing newcomers to other Canadian regions. According to statistics from Statistics Canada, about 16.3% of immigrants who came to Quebec in 2009 had left for other provinces by 2019, which is almost double that of Ontario.
‘Not always realistic’
Quebec has historically been a favored terminus for Canadian immigrants. But standards for creating temporary residents permanent and staying extended to get residency could prevent newcomers said Montreal-based immigration lawyer Rosalie Brunel.
Bolet said that 84% of financial immigrants accepted in 2021 said French, compared to 56% in 2019.
His office said that Quebec raised its francophone share through the selection of applicants in certain immigration streams and by making French schedules available to temporary residents.
Legault wants Quebec to elect those who enter to join their families – a force held by Canada’s federal state – so that it can select more French speakers.
The head of a factory said the government wanted companies to recruit French-speaking workers.
Quebec said businesses could also turn to options such as automation.
“The dream is to have well-trained workers who are French-speaking, but that’s not always practical,” said Technosub chief executive Eric Beaupre. Technosub, established in rural Rouen-Noranda, Quebec, produces and repairs pumps for the mining and other sectors.
With narrow local labor, TechnoSub is bringing on more temporary workers from Latin America and the Philippines who need the skills and learn French on the job, he said.
Emmanuel Suerte Felipe came to Technosub in 2018 from the Philippines as a temporary worker. His French is good enough for the job, but he worries about the need for permanent residency as he wants to move his family to Quebec.
“I would love to be here,” he said. “I found my dream job.”
Source: Economictimes Indiatimes
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