Montreal

Korean nurse seeks injunction to stop Quebec from throwing out 18,000 immigration applications

Seeun Park is one of 18,139 skilled workers who've been told if they want to settle in Quebec, they have to start the selection process all over again. A Quebec association of immigration lawyers says that's illegal.

Immigration lawyers acting for Seeun Park argue CAQ's proposed immigration overhaul leaves thousands in limbo

Seeun Park, a trained nurse who has applied to settle in Quebec as a skilled worker, is one of 18,139 applicants whose files would be discarded if Bill 9 were to pass as is. (Matthew Lapierre/CBC)

Acting in the name of a Korean nurse, an association of immigration lawyers is seeking an injunction that would force the Quebec government to delay its plan to cancel more than 18,000 applications from skilled workers who want to settle in Quebec.

The lawyers say the government's decision is illegal, and they say the matter must be addressed immediately because it concerns several thousand people already living and working in the province.

"This refusal to process applications in inventory is devastating," reads the injunction filed Wednesday morning in Quebec Superior Court by AQAADI — an association of Quebec immigration lawyers.

The request, made in the name of Seeun Park, states that potential immigrants whose applications have been scrapped feel humiliated and betrayed.

"I hope I can live in Quebec," said Park.

Immigration Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette tabled Bill 9 on Feb. 7. If passed, it would force skilled-worker applicants, some of whom have waited years for their files to be processed, to start all over again if they still qualify to settle in Quebec. (Jacques Boissinot/Canadian Press)

AQAADI is taking aim at Bill 9, tabled in the National Assembly by Immigration Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette on Feb. 7, which would discard 18,139 untreated immigration files from skilled workers, the immigration program that is managed by Quebec.

The applicants were waiting for a Quebec selection certificate (CSQ) in order to obtain permanent residence to live and work in Canada.

Instead, they received a notice from the government telling them their applications would no longer be treated, said Olga ​Redko, an AQAADI lawyer.

"The government doesn't have the authority to stop treating applications," Redko told CBC News. "We're seeking an order from the court to force the minister to continue treating applications."

An immigration application not only takes a lot of time and effort, she explained, but many people have put their lives on hold as they wait for a response.

The Coalition Avenir Québec government has said applicants can reapply, once Quebec's immigration system is overhauled.

But that means thousands of people who were expecting an answer in the coming months, will, if they qualify under the new rules, have to go back to the beginning of the process.

"Some people are already in Quebec, and, if their application is cancelled, it will make it much more difficult and, in some cases impossible for them to stay in the province," she said.

Quebec Premier ​François Legault declined to comment Wednesday because the matter is before the courts.

However, he challenged AQAADI's decision to file an injunction before the bill has even become law.

"It's a bit special to sue for a bill that's not discussed and not adopted so far," he said. "Wait to see the study about it."

About the Author

Isaac Olson has been a Montreal-area journalist for more than a decade. Follow him on Twitter: @Isaac_J_Olson

With files from Steve Rukavina

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