Saturday, August 11, 2007

The WSJ has an interesting story on occasional tensions between native Quebeckers and French immigrants:

However the Quebec dream can sometimes turn into a nightmare. Every year hundreds of these immigrants return home to France with the bitter aftertaste of failure.

The exact number of returning immigrants is the object of fierce debate. The Delegation of Quebec in France, the organization in charge of recruiting immigrants, claims that 18% to 20% will be back within five years. The demographer Marc Termotte, however, argues that these figures are wide of the mark. "One out of every two French people who decide to settle in Quebec will go back to France within eight years of their immigration," says this professor from the University of Montreal, who based his study on census statistics.

This story speculates that these immigrants may return to their native France in part because of economic and social differences. On employment and (especially) health care issues, some sound very dissatisfied:

A Frenchman who has been living in Quebec for 11 years but now plans to leave, Yann complains among other things that he was not made aware of the appalling quality of health care. "Sometimes you have to wait a whole day to see a doctor. Patients even have to wait on stretchers in the corridors, resources are so limited," he explains.

Other bones of contention are the education system that he claims is run by incompetent teachers and a labor market that is hostile to immigrants. His main complaint, however, is the difficulty of achieving recognized professional status. The province has a large number of protected or regulated professions: doctors, engineers, dentists, accountants, architects etc. "In order to join their ranks, a number of professionals who were already practicing in France find themselves having to retake exams, attend classes or sometimes even retrain completely," Yann says.

This story also has more on some of the cultural differences between France and Quebec.