The Quebec provincial government has announced some major reforms on its skilled immigration program – Quebec Experience Program (QEP), and also introduced two new pilot immigration programs.
New changes to QEP will come into effect in the coming weeks. QEP was introduced in 2010, to give a fast-track immigration pathway to the province for skilled immigrants and international students.
In the fall of 2019, Quebec announced major QEP reforms but was forced to reverse them following a public outcry that the reforms were unfair to workers and students already in the province. Some workers and students who planned to use the QEP as a transition path to permanent resident status would no longer have been eligible for the QEP if the Quebec government had gone ahead and maintained its proposed changes on November 1, 2019.
Main objectives for QEP Reforms
Quebec’s immigration minister Simon-Jolin Barrette outlined four major points behind these recently announced reforms:
Increased Work Experience
Quebec is now introducing more work experience requirements under the QEP in order to better promote integration into its labour market and into society.
Temporary foreign workers (TFWs) will now have to obtain at least 36 months of full-time work experience in the 48 months preceding their application for permanent residence. At the same time, Quebec announced that a transitional measure will be put in place to accommodate TFWs who hold a valid work permit before the new QEP criteria are entered into law in the coming weeks.
Students will now need 12 or 24 months of work experience in Quebec to be eligible for the QEP.
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 type levels 0, A, and B. of the National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Students who obtain a vocational studies diploma from Quebec need 24 months of work experience in Quebec in jobs at NOC skill type level 0, A, B, and C.
French proficiency for Spouses
As part of the reforms announced today, Quebec declares that the spouses of principal applicants under the QEP must demonstrate oral knowledge of French. This is to ensure that they can integrate into the province. This requirement will come into force one year after the entry into force of the reform.
Certificates of success for advanced intermediate French courses issued by educational institutions in Quebec will no longer be admissible as proof of language proficiency of French. These documents have raised integrity issues over the years as irregularities have been discovered.
The QEP has standard processing of 20 days, but the province is now committed to processing requests within a maximum of 6 months. The reason is that Quebec wants to ensure that it treats applicants from the QEP and the Quebec Skilled Worker Program (QSWP) in the same way.
Pilot programs for Nurse’s aides and Tech Workers
Quebec will also launch two new pilot immigration programs for nurse aides and technicians.
Nursing assistants are in high demand across the province. According to the Government of Quebec, the current programs do not meet the demands of the labour market. Only 115 nursing assistants have been selected for permanent residence in Quebec since 2013. The new program will aim to bring in 550 nursing assistants per year.
The government has also declared that the artificial intelligence and information technology sectors are booming in Quebec. A new immigration pilot project will allow the province to select 550 highly skilled workers each year for immigration. The implementation of this pilot project aims to attract and retain talented specialists in these fields and to contribute to Quebec’s influence and competitiveness on the world’s technological scene.
Reference is taken from CIC News
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