The paper focuses on Canadian Provinces’ role in migrant selection. After an asymmetric approach, that benefited only Quebec, the federal government granted devolutionary powers in migrant selection to the other Provinces as well, moving towards de facto asymmetry. This process has proved to be successful over the years, but recently the federal government has reacted, recentralizing some aspects of immigration policy. This does not apply to Quebec.

This policy change may suggest that, although immigration federalism may be grounded on reasons other than the need to accommodate linguistic or ethnic claims, it remains the case that the former are “weaker” than the latter, and are more subject to pressure from the central government.

This is also confirmed by looking at the mechanisms through which intergovernmental agreements have been translated into law. Unlike the Quebec case, immigration’s devolution in relation to the other Provinces has occurred through administrative delegation of powers from the federal government. This permits the federal government to exercise some form of political pressure in order to realign the Provinces’ discretionary choices.

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