Canada’s French Province Quebec to introduce a ‘Values’ Test for Immigrants

With effect from 1 January 2020, the province of Quebec will implement a ‘Values’ test for economic migrants as well as their accompanying family members who want to permanently migrate to the province. Quebec’s Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) government has recently released an update stating its future immigration plans along with introducing a values test for newcomers in the new year. The update is applicable to all economic immigration programs, which include, the PEQ, PRTQ, Self-Employed Worker Program, Entrepreneur Program and Investor Program.

According to the latest announcement, foreign nationals seeking a permanent residency in Quebec must pass a test on Quebec democratic values and Quebec values as described in the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. The test will be implemented by Premier François Legault’s Coalition d’avenir Quebec (CAQ) government to ensure that newcomers understand the Quebec society, its provincial secularism, and its core values. The questions will be of multiple-choice format and will last up to 90 minutes. According to Quebec Premier Francois Legault, “the test is similar to the one for Canadian citizenship, and will be a “a strong signal that if you want to come and live in Quebec you have to know the values of Quebec”.

Every prospective immigrant to Quebec (only economic, not refugees) must undertake the test in order to obtain a certificat de sélection du Québec or CSQ. The update was published in the Official Gazette of Quebec (a government publication) on October 30, 2019. A CSQ is the province’s way of nominating a candidate for Quebec immigration, after which, an applicant becomes eligible to apply for the permanent residency. An individual must score at least 75% to pass the test.

Candidates will be given multiple attempts to undergo the test. In case, you fail the first one, you may try the second time; and if still unsuccessful then you’ll have the option of enrolling for a training course. As per the terms and conditions, all immigrants will be given three years to clear the test. However, if a candidate fails the third time, then they cannot choose to opt for the course.

The decision was made by Quebec’s current government, and since then it has created a lot of uproar in the Canadian media. Apart from imposing the values test, the provincial government also plans to raise the annual immigration target in 2020 from 49,500 to 52,500 by 2022, along with clearing the huge backlog of 18,000 visa applications yet to be reviewed.

While the Legault’s government moves forward to increase the migration intake level in 2020, Quebec businesses request the government to raise the target at least 60,000 to address the labor shortage related issues in the province.

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