Rally held for immigrants put in limbo by potential new law
With the future of 18,000 people in question due to potential changes to Quebec’s immigration laws, members of the immigrant community and others rallied in support on Sunday.
Among those who came out was helicopter pilot Giuliano Bruno, who came to Quebec from Italy four years ago. He said he came to the province due to the opportunities.
“I came to Quebec because the helicopter pilot is one of the jobs in demand,” he said.
However, Bruno now founds himself unable to work, with his permit expired and immigration application suspended.
The potential law introduced by the Coalition Avenir Quebec government, dubbed Bill 9, would throw out the 18,000 pending immigration applications in favour of a fresh start.
Last week, immigration lawyers filed for an injunction against Bill 9. The injunction asks for applications already in the system to be processed before the bill is passed.
“We actually have a law and the law does not, in our opinion, give the (immigration) minister the power to just suspend treating applications,” said Guillaume Cliché-Rivard, an attorney with the Quebec Immigration Lawyers’ Association. “Until then, he should continue to proceed with the current applications under the current law.”
Among those who came to show support were MNAs from Quebec Solidaire. MNA Ruba Ghazal said immigrants are a key part of solving Quebec’s labour shortage.
“They have jobs, some of them have jobs,” she said. “They are contributing to society, they pay taxes, so it’s a very, very bad decision, especially in the context of a labour shortage.”
The CAQ has defended the revamp, saying they inherited an ailing immigration system, and promised Bill 9 would better allow matching between potential newcomers and job openings.
But until any new law is passed, immigrants like Sheriel Bautista say their lives are hanging in the balance.
“I don’t want to go to other provinces because I don’t know any people there,” she said. “I have a sister here, my friends are here, my employers are here.”
Bruno said that if he can’t live and work in Quebec, he’ll offer his services elsewhere in Canada.
“It’s very sad for me because Quebec is my home and I live here,” he said.