The new eligibility criteria for the Quebec Experience Program (or PEQ) put in place by the provincial government on July 9 come into effect today July 22.
Launched in 2010, the PEQ is a popular immigration stream that offers a fast track to permanent residence for temporary foreign workers and international students who have resided in Quebec.
On July 9, Quebec’s immigration minister announced that an increase in the length of work experience required of future applicants before they can apply to the PEQ would be implemented in the coming weeks.
As of today, temporary foreign workers will need to have held a full-time job for 24 months within the 36 months prior to filing their application to meet PEQ criteria.
The new rules also include a requirement for work experience in Quebec for international students. Students who obtain a university degree in Quebec or a college diploma in Quebec will need 12 months of work experience in Quebec in jobs that fall under skill level 0, A and B. of the National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Students who obtain a Diploma of Professional Studies of Quebec (DEP) must have 18 months of work experience in Quebec in NOC skill level 0, A, B and C. Students in C level jobs do not may only be eligible for the new PEQ rules if their work experience is related to their program of study in Quebec.
Work experience acquired during a compulsory internship in a study program will also be counted, up to a maximum of three months.
Temporary foreign worker PEQ applications will be processed according to the previous rules provided that the applicants have a valid work permit or have been authorized to work, and were already in Quebec on July 21, 2020.
In addition, international students who graduate with a diploma issued before January 1, 2021, will also have their application processed under the conditions in effect before today’s reforms.
However, it is unclear how this transitional measure will affect students who complete their studies in the fall semester and who typically graduate after January 1.
Minimum language proficiency requirements
In addition to the changes concerning PEQ eligibility, this reform includes several other changes.
The spouses of the principal applicant must demonstrate a level of French equivalent to an “advanced beginner”. This knowledge of French can be demonstrated by proving that one has successfully completed three years of full-time secondary or post-secondary studies or bypassing French language exams.
However, this measure will not take effect until July 22, 2021.
The final transcript attesting to the successful completion of an advanced intermediate level French course in a recognized establishment in Quebec will no longer be accepted as proof of a good command of French; only approved test results and transcripts of studies completed in French will be accepted.
Why were these changes made by Quebec?
The government of Quebec claims to have tightened the eligibility criteria for the PEQ because of its great popularity. From 2010 to 2019, the proportion of Quebec selection certificates issued through the PEQ increased from 5% to 86%, according to the Quebec Minister of Immigration.
Quebec’s decision continues to be strongly criticized, however. In recent weeks, nearly 50 students, union, and community groups have mobilized in Quebec to denounce the recent changes made to the PEQ and demand a more inclusive immigration system in the province.
These groups are calling for a review of the extension of the required years of experience, the exclusion of low-skilled jobs, the exclusion based on the language skills of the spouse, and the newly introduced six-month processing times.
Reference is taken from CIC News
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