The right-of-centre Coalition Avenir Quebec government has suffered a setback its attempt to scrap a backlog of 18,000 applications by skilled workers to move to the province.
A Superior Court judge on Monday issued a 10-day injunction that forces the provincial immigration ministry to resume processing the files.
That means thousands of workers who had been told their applications were being thrown out get a reprieve.
Immigration Minister Simon Jolin-Barette says the province will abide by the decision.
In December, Jolin-Barette tabled details of a policy that would reduce the number of immigrants coming to Quebec by more than 20 per cent–to 40,000 in 2019, down from 50,000 in 2018.
Earlier this month the government confirmed its plans to discard 18,139 unprocessed files from skilled workers, though the applicants would be free to reapply under a new system and be refunded for their application.
Lawyers immediately jumped in, and a full day of arguments took place last Friday at the Montreal courthouse.
On Monday, Superior Court Justice Frédéric Bachand granted the 10-day injunction in the name of Seeun Park, a trained nurse, who has applied to settle in Quebec as a skilled worker.
Ho Sung Kim, a member of an association of immigration lawyers fighting the case, called the government’s decision to throw out old applications “irresponsible,” leaving thousands of families in limbo.
“It’s not just the numbers and the stats,” he said Friday.
“Its not just the paperwork. There are people behind who have been devoting their lives to immigrate to Quebec.”
With files from CBC, CTV, Montreal Gazette