Quebec's immigration minister has tabled a bill that seeks to cancel 18,000 pending applications to the Quebec Skilled Worker Program (QSWP) before August 2, 2018.
Bill 9 was brought before the National Assembly on Thursday by Immigration, Diversity and Inclusiveness Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette, part of the new right-wing Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) government.
The legislation also proposes numerous other measures including a change to the province's Immigration Act emphasising an immigrant’s “responsibility” to learn Quebec values and French.
One of the CAQ's election promises was the introduction of a French and values test for newcomers.
The bill aims to ensure that immigrants integrate better and therefore better equipped to succeed in Quebec’s labour market, according to the CAQ.
It would see all applications yet to be approved, refused or rejected, cancelled, refunding the processing fee of $1,000 (around €664).
The decision would be communicated to applicants who could re-apply under the new system that would “marry the profile of workers and available jobs,” said Barrette.
“It’s like the Tinder of immigration,” he added.
Barrette said clearing the backlog of applications was the only way to move forward.
“It’s a strong measure,” he said, “but it’s the only one capable of breaking a stalemate that we can no longer accept.”
However, before the CAQ’s plan can be implemented it will have to negotiate with the federal government, which still controls much of the immigration system.