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Federal Government Cuts Quebec’s Migration Compensation Request, Offers $750 Million

The federal government has rejected Quebec Premier Francois Legault’s demand for $1 billion in compensation for welcoming over half a million temporary immigrants from 2021 to 2023. Instead, Ottawa has offered the French-Canadian province $750 million to support the influx of migrants, according to CBC News.

Premier Legault expressed disappointment over not securing the full amount but acknowledged the $750 million offer. 

During a meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the Château Frontenac, Legault accepted the reduced compensation. However, he noted that other expectations from Ottawa, particularly regarding immigration management, were not met.

Quebec aims to reduce the number of asylum seekers by 50 percent within a year and reduce wait times for issuing work permits to refugee claimants. 

The goal is to keep claimants off social assistance. Legault emphasized the urgency of setting specific targets for temporary immigrant numbers, including asylum seekers.

Prime Minister Trudeau stated that Quebec needs to present a detailed plan to adjust its immigration numbers to set reduction targets. He highlighted that Quebec controls over half of its temporary immigrants and must respond to its own needs.

Data from the Quebec Labor Ministry shows a significant increase in social assistance requests between March 22 and November 21, 2023. 

The province received 80,151 requests during this period, compared to 72,221 in the same timeframe in 2022. This represents the largest jump in households receiving social assistance in 25 years. 

Also, the monthly average of asylum seekers more than doubled from 19,455 adults in 2022 to over 40,000 in 2023.

Trudeau cautioned against blaming immigrants for housing shortages and the strain on social services. He stressed that these challenges are complex and not solely the fault of immigrants.

The recent meeting was the second between Trudeau and Legault on immigration issues in three months. The previous meeting in March ended with Trudeau rejecting Quebec’s demand for full control over its provincial immigration. 

Ottawa has agreed to faster processing times for asylum claimants. The current processing time of 18 to 20 months will be reduced, with 20 percent of cases processed within nine months. Additionally, the delivery time for work permits for asylum seekers will be cut from 100 days to 30 days by October.

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