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PQ wants 1 in 4 immigrants to live outside of Montreal and ‘go directly where they have a job’

Parti Québécois Leader Jean-François Lisée said today a PQ government would try to reverse the trend that sees 90 per cent of all newcomers to Quebec move to the Montreal area.
Parti Québécois Leader Jean-François Lisée said today a PQ government would try to reverse the trend that sees 90 per cent of all newcomers to Quebec move to the Montreal area. Jacques Boissinot/The Canadian Press

The Parti Québécois hopes to bring more workers to the province’s regions by proposing one of four newcomers live outside of Montreal.

The party said it wants to reverse the current trend of more than 90 per cent of immigrants settling in Montreal and Quebec City.

PQ Leader Jean-Francois Lisée said if the PQ were to form the next provincial government, its immigration policy would strengthen the province’s regions and bolster the French language.

Under the plan, newcomers would have to pass a French language test in order to move to Quebec.

“We are more frank about the conditions for success,” said Lisée.

“The people who come here and can’t speak French are either unemployed, or they leave (for other provinces), therefore, they waste their time and ours.”

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More immigrants to the regions

As part of its plan, the PQ is also proposing additional rewards for potential immigrants who qualify for jobs in the province’s regions.

Under Quebec’s points system for immigration, newcomers who want to live in the regions currently receive two more points than those who express interest in living in Montreal.

READ MORE: Quebec unveils plan to deal with growing labour shortage

The PQ said it would give twice the amount of points for potential immigrants who intend to live outside of the metropolis.

“Our objective is for [immigrants] not to pass through Montreal, but go directly to the place where they have a job,” Lisée said.

The measure would also help address the province’s growing labour shortage by providing workers in the areas where businesses are struggling to fill jobs, according to the PQ.

Growing issue ahead of election

Immigration in Quebec is shaping up to be a major issue ahead of the provincial election in October.

The Coalition Avenir Québec has also proposed a more rigorous immigration process, saying it would expel newcomers who fail to properly integrate into larger Quebec society.

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READ MORE: CAQ immigration policy urges newcomers be expelled if they fail to integrate

Both the PQ and the CAQ have routinely criticized the Quebec Liberals when it comes to immigration policy, saying it doesn’t go far enough and fails newcomers.

Lisée characterized the current immigration process in Quebec as a total “total failure.”

— with files from The Canadian Press