Quebec saw more demand, not less, for immigration in the second half of 2013.
The immigration minister is fighting back against those who argue the secularism charter will make the province less attractive to newcomers and hurt the economy.
Diane De Courcy said in an open letter in Le Devoir that Quebec was, is and will be a very popular place for immigration. "Before launching statements to the contrary that fall along the lines of the "boogie man," it would be preferable to provide records."
The immigration ministry says its received 928 files from Arab North Africa between August and December of 2013, requesting a selection certificate under the qualified worker program.
That number is a 78% increase compared to the same period of time last year, when it received only 519 of these files.
These numbers are preliminary, though, since they only show the number of "files," not individuals. A single file could involve either one, or multiple people, because a person's accompanying family members can be contained within the same file.
These numbers also only show those applying as qualified workers, which involves the lion's share of Quebec's immigrants.
The number of those who are requesting to come as entrepreneurs or refugees, for example, was not readily available.
Still, the numbers show that requests from the middle east have also increased slightly, with 58 extra files for the last-half of 2013.
The overall number of files has also gone up drastically, with a 55 percent increase.
The most important increase has come from Western Europe.
It is not clearly how much education candidates might have about Quebec's secularism charter.
Diane De Courcy's office says the immigration ministry is not actively informing potential newcomers about the charter of secularism.
The data provided by the ministry spans August to December, but a month-by-month breakdown is not available.
A media leak about the charter first came out in August, but the PQ did not officially confirm the information until it unveiled a proposal in September. It tabled the actual legislation two months later, in November.