WATCH: Quebec government accused of ripping off immigrants

Did the Quebec government swindle hundreds of immigrants out of tens of thousands of dollars? A Montreal lawyer says yes.

David Chalk told CTV Montreal in 2009 newcomers to the province were told by the government passing select classes at either the Lester B. Pearson or English Montreal school board would help their bid to obtain a selection certificate, which is required to obtain permanent residency.

Hundreds of immigrants took the courses, which according to Chalk cost up to $30,000.

Nearly eight years later these people are in trouble.

Chalk said his clients, many of them graduates of the classes, were contacted eight months ago by government officials saying there was problem with their paperwork. When the Quebec hopefuls met with Immigration Ministry officials they were given French exams and their problematic documents were never once mentioned.

Now many of these people have been told they were not going to receive a selection certificate, and they would be ineligible to apply again for five years.

"They’re very, very stressed. They are very anxious and also many of them are angry because they’re being called liars and they’re not," Chalk told CTV. "They’re very disappointed and surprised they’re dealing with this kind of situation in Quebec because this is for many of them exactly the reason they wanted to make a future here rather than the countries they came from."

When contacted about the situation, Quebec Immigration Minister Kathleen Weil would not comment on the case, but noted Quebec’s anti-corruption police unit has been investigating both boards.