MONTREAL -- Representatives of manufacturing companies in Quebec have written an open letter to the provincial and federal governments asking them to accept more immigrants and to give them more time to learn French.

The letter from the Manufacturiers et exportateurs du Quebec was co-signed by representatives from 25 companies of different sizes.

More than 19,400 jobs are currently unfilled in the Quebec manufacturing sector alone, the letter states, adding that the situation is unacceptable and that "we must welcome more immigrants to fill the many jobs available."

And while they concur that being able to express oneself in French is essential in Quebec, they say "we need to give new arrivals more time to reach a level of excellence in French."

The letter also calls for other specific measures, including the elimination of the rule limiting the proportion of foreign workers per plant to 10 per cent, as well as extending visas for less-skilled workers from one year to three.

Signatories of the letter include representatives from companies such as Canam, Novatech, ABB, Arcelor Mittal produits longs, Charpentes d'acier SOFAB and Creopack.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 10, 2019.