After a 19-hour marathon session, members of Quebec’s National Assembly have passed legislation that would allow the government to cancel roughly 16,000 immigration applications, some from people who have waited in limbo for years as their files languished in the old processing system.
When first announced, there were initially 18,000 applications expected to be thrown out but roughly 2,000 have since been processed.
Bill 9 sets out the framework for a Quebec values test that would-be immigrants will need to pass in order to become a permanent resident.
It passed shortly after 4 a.m. ET Sunday by a vote of 62 to 42.
“We are changing the immigration system in the public interest because we have to make sure that we have immigration tied to the needs of the labour market,” Immigration Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette said before the vote.
Jolin-Barrette argued the new bill will reduce immigration application waiting time from 36 months down to six months.
Liberal immigration critic Dominique Anglade had complained that since filing Bill 9 in February, the government has provided “no credible explanation” to eliminate the 16,000 applications that are already in the system for those wishing to immigrate to Quebec under the Regular Skilled Worker Program.