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‘Tinder of immigration’: Quebec outlines plan for how to welcome newcomers

Click to play video 'Quebec tables controversial immigration bill' Quebec tables controversial immigration bill
WATCH: Quebec's immigration minister has laid out his plan on how the government wants to welcome newcomers. As Global's Raquel Fletcher reports, Bill 9 will implement a French language and values test – Feb 7, 2019

Quebec Immigration Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette laid out his plan Thursday for how his government plans to welcome newcomers.

He tabled Bill 9, saying it lays the groundwork for the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) election promise to change the way the province selects its immigrants.

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This includes the implementation of both a French-language and a Quebec values test.

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The goal, according to Jolin-Barrette, is to match applicants with jobs before they even arrive on Canadian soil.

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“It’s like a Tinder of immigration,” he said Thursday.

The government said it will be swiping left to cancel about 18,000 applications that have already been filed under the Regular Skilled Worker Program. Those applicants can re-apply under the “Expression of interest” program.

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The minister says Quebec will reimburse the $1,000 application fee.

Bill 9 also adds a clause that states the provincial government will have the power to impose conditions on permanent residents, such as that they will have to work in the regions.

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The proposed legislation also paves the way for the CAQ’s promised language and values test.

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“Come work in Quebec, but you will have to learn French and have a knowledge of the Quebec values to be there forever,” said Jolin-Barrette.

Opposition parties say there are multiple reasons why the plan sends a negative message about how the province treats newcomers.

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“This is not the image we want to send of Quebec,” insisted Andrés Fontecilla, an MNA with Québec Solidaire.

His party claims inviting people to immigrate to Quebec, but holding conditions over their heads, is unfair.

Quebec Liberal Party members say the government has a duty to respond to candidates who have already applied to move to the province.

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“Now we’re saying, ‘We don’t even care, we’re not even going to open the files,'” said Dominique Anglade, official opposition critic for economy and immigration.

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“We’re just going to say, ‘Sorry. Too bad, too late, we’re doing something different now.’ The impact? Very negative.”

Even if the bill is adopted, Quebec still has to negotiate the clauses with the federal government.

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Jolin-Barrette said he was reticent about how those talks are going.