MONTREAL -- Immigrants wishing to settle in Quebec will now have to pass the controversial "values test" before their application continues through the process.

Bill-9 (An Act to increase Québec’s socio-economic prosperity and adequately meet labour market needs through successful immigrant integration) came into effect Jan. 1, 2020, and will include questions about secularism, same-sex marriage, gender rights, religious symbols and other aspects of Quebec culture (the bill in full is included at the bottom of this article).

Refugees and those coming to the province via family reunification programs are exempt from the test because they are under federal jurisdiction.

The reform bill was sponsored by CAQ Immigration Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette and voted into law in June after a 19-hour session in the National Assembly.

The test must be taken within a two-year period before the candidate can apply for permanent immigration.

The test has 20 multiple choice and true or false questions, and requires that anyone who wants to live in Quebec prove they have proficient knowledge of the province’s values.

Prospective immigrants will have 90 minutes to complete the exam. To pass, test takers must score at least 75 per cent.

Opposition parties lambasted the bill saying it would put 18,000 skilled workers' applications back to square one.

CAQ Premier Francois Legault's party wants to revamp immigration in the province by focusing on rural needs for workers.

Rather than hampering immigration, the government feels the new criteria will fast-track newcomers who better meet employers' needs.