Six myths about immigration

Immigration is regularly in the news, in Quebec and elsewhere. Opinions diverge, mistrust is expressed and judgments multiply as to the ability of immigrants to integrate, participate in the labor market and even in number. But what is it really? The Rumor Detector debunks some myths.
The majority of immigrants are refugees: false

As a first step, we must know that immigration has many faces. In Quebec, about 60% of immigrants come from the economic class, that is, they are selected by the province because of their professional skills and ability to contribute to the economy. On the other side, there are immigrants admitted by the federal government through the family reunification program, which represents almost 25%, or as refugees (including asylum seekers). They are often required to enter Canada without the necessary travel documents and without authorization. This is called irregular entry. Although they represent about 17% of newcomers, they are often the ones who attract attention and growls, such as during the spring 2017 arrivals at Roxham Road,

Source: Department of Immigration, Diversity and Inclusion. * This category includes mostly humanitarian cases, some files of unrecognized refugee claimants, ministerial permit holders and cases of public interest.

“Immigrants invade us”: false

For the whole of 2018, 51,118 immigrants were admitted to Quebec. It’s slightly less than the year before. Of these, only 8832 (17.3%) were refugees, often targeted by those who fear “invasion”. Despite these arrivals, all persons born in another country represent only 13.7% of the population of Quebec, according to Statistics Canada’s most recent census (2016).

And a study by the Institut du Québec, published in September 2018, shows that Quebec only receives 14.5% of immigrants admitted to Canada, while it represents 23.1% of the population. The document states that without the contribution of immigration, the population of Quebec would decline in 2034 due to the accelerated aging of the population and its low fertility rate.

According to projections made for Statistics Canada, the proportion of immigrants will continue to increase over the next 25 years, reaching between 24.5% and 30% of Canada’s population by 2036.

But mistrust persists. In June 2019, 63% of respondents to a web survey conducted by Léger for the Canadian Press estimated that the government should “prioritize reducing the number of immigrants entering Canada.” Only 37% believed that the government should increase it, while companies, meanwhile, say they desperately need workers. According to Emploi-Québec, nearly a third of workers will have to be replaced by 2024.

“Immigrants steal our jobs”: false

In 2017, the unemployment rate for immigrants aged 25 to 54 who arrived in Quebec five years or less was 15.8%, compared to 4.5% for Quebeckers born here. Their main obstacle to employment: the recognition of diplomas and work experience acquired abroad.

Immigrants who have been in Quebec for five years or more are doing better, with an unemployment rate of 8.7% in 2017, while it ranged between 10.6% and 13.8% from 2007 to 2015. This remains higher than that of people born in Quebec. More telling, the employment rate for 25 to 54 year-olds, that is the proportion of working immigrants, increased by more than 7% in ten years, reaching 62.8% in 2018, in Quebec.

The labor shortage affecting Quebec and Canada largely explains why more immigrants are entering the labor market. They come to occupy the positions that employers are struggling to fill. Eight economic organizations in Quebec, including the Conseil du patronat and the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal, have even asked François Legault’s government not to reduce the number of economic immigrants admitted, in order to respond to the “urgent need for labor.” ‘artwork”.

More immigrants are also creating their own jobs. In 2010, Statistics Canada reported that 5.3% of immigrants had a private business nine years after arriving in Canada, compared with 4.8% of the Canadian-born.

“Illegal” short-circuit the immigration process: false

In spring 2017, the number of refugee claimants entering Canada irregularly from the United States exploded, prompting strong criticism. However, in the year 2017, 59% of refugee claimants entered Canada on a regular basis. Of those who entered irregularly, 53% ended up being recognized as refugees, and less than 1% had a criminal history.

Contrary to popular belief, it is not a crime to cross the border without permission when it comes to seeking asylum, notes the Canadian Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Another important detail is that political asylum applications and immigration applications are not subject to the same process. The former are handled first by the Canada Border Services Agency, then by the Immigration and Refugee Board, the latter are handled by the Department of Immigration – these are two separate, watertight lanes. . And it should be noted that an increase in the number of refugees does not translate into a decline in the level of economic immigration the following year.

Quebec is moving towards Islamization: false

The Quebec Department of Immigration does not compile statistics on the religion of immigrants. By examining the countries of origin of those who arrived in Quebec between 2013 and 2017, we observe that the first two countries of birth of economic immigrants – which, let us remember, account for 60% of immigrants to Quebec – are France and China. Among refugees, only Syria, which has a predominantly Muslim population, stood out (33% of refugees) followed far behind by Haiti (6.7%).

The ranks of Muslim communities are growing so … slowly. In the 2011 census, just over one million Canadians identified themselves as Muslims, representing 3.2% of the country’s population. In Quebec, they represent 3.1% of the population. This is almost twice as much as in 2001, when they represented 2% of the Canadian population and 1.5% of Quebec. But at this rate, it would take decades before Muslims make up a significant proportion of the population.

The majority of immigrants do not speak French: true and false

Knowledge of French is actually decreasing among newcomers. In 2017, 58% of newcomers did not speak French, compared to 53% in 2016. From 2006 to 2015, a minority between 35 and 44% who did not speak French.

The economic immigrants chosen by Quebec are the most likely to know French because it is a selection criterion. Nevertheless, only 61.5% of them mastered French in 2017, compared to 72.9% the previous year.

However, census statistics show that 10 years after their arrival, 90.5% of economic immigrants, 77.1% of those who benefited from the family reunification program and 84.3% of refugees, speak French. And the Coalition Avenir Québec government is considering imposing a French test on prospective immigrants.

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