CAQ wants immigrants to pass culture test or leave

Coalition Avenir du Quebec leader Francois Legault wants to introduce new rules for immigrants that would require them to pass a test on Quebec's language, and cultural values, after a three-year probationary period.

New arrivals who fail would be asked to leave province

Coalition Avenir Québec Leader Francois Legault is proposing new rules for immigrants. (Jacques Boissinot/The Canadian Press)

Coalition Avenir Québec leader Francois Legault wants to introduce new rules for immigrants that would require them to pass a test on Quebec's language, and cultural values, after a three-year probationary period.

Legault announced the proposal Monday and it comes as the debate over integrating new immigrants continues to simmer.

Legault says a third of the 50-thousand immigrants who arrive in Quebec every year don't speak French adequately, and four out of five don't meet the demands of the province's job market.

Legault wants the province to accept more trained professionals, and he thinks his language and culture requirements will help.

"We would like to put more emphasis in the first place on answering the working market needs," said Legault.

Immigrants who fail test would be kicked out

Under Legault's plan, new arrivals would have to take a test of their french-language skills and knowledge of Quebec values after three years.

If they don't pass after two tries, they'd be asked to return to their country of origin or go to another province.

Legault says a CAQ government would invest 80-million dollars a year to help immigrants succeed.

Parti Quebecois MNA MakaKoto calls the plan "improvised".

"How can you kick someone out of the country when it's the federal government that has power over visas?" Koto said.

Liberal immigration minister Kathleen Weil also criticized the plan.

She says it would drive potential immigrants to simply avoid Quebec in the future.

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