The Government of Quebec announced changes to its successful Quebec Experience Program and its plan to introduce two new pilot programs. The Quebec government unveiled long-awaited changes to its Quebec Experience Program, following public consultations. It will launch two new pilot programs, as well.
Quebec intends that changes to the Quebec Experience Program (or “PEQ ” in French) will come into effect through its immigration regulations in the forthcoming weeks.
The PEQ is a common stream for temporary foreign workers and international students who have resided in Quebec province. It was launched in 2010
Four PEQ-reform objectives
Quebec Immigration Minister Simon-Jolin Barrette outlined four key goals behind the PEQ reforms in today's announcement:
Better integration into the job market
More efficiency in the selection process to fulfil labour market needs in the province
Skilled in French to promote economic and social integration
Strong integrity of the programme
Workers and students needed increased work experience requirements under the PEQ for better promotion and integration into Quebec’s society and labour market.
Temporary Foreign workers need to have at least 36 months i.e 3 years of full-time experience in the last 48 months preceding their application for PR.
In order to be eligible for the PEQ program, students will either require 12 months or 24 months of work experience in Quebec depending upon the type of program they study.
Students require 12 months of work experience in Canada who obtained a University degree or College degree in Quebec. The work experience should fall under the National Classification Code (NOC) O, A or B.
Students graduating with a Quebec professional studies diploma need 24 months of Quebec work experience in NOC 0, A, B, and C occupations. Students employed in C-level jobs will only be considered under the new PEQ rules if their work experience is relevant to their Quebec study program.
French knowledge for spouses
Following the amendments introduced, Quebec notes that spouses of key applicants under the PEQ would have to show spoken French skills. This is to ensure they can integrate into the province. The provision will come into force one year after the law takes effect.
Certificates issued by educational institutions in Quebec for the successful completion of advanced intermediate level French courses will no longer be eligible as proof of French knowledge. Over the years, these records have raised questions of credibility, as violations have been discovered.
The PEQ had a 20-day turnaround period but the government is now dedicated to handling applications within a maximum of six months. The explanation for this is that Quebec needs to ensure that it handles candidates from PEQ and Quebec Professional Worker Program (QSWP) equally.
Quebec's two pilot programs for nurse’s aides and tech workers
In addition, Quebec will come out with two new immigration pilot projects for nurses' aides and tech employees.
Nurse aides, or caregivers, are in high demand across the province. Current programs are not meeting labour-market demands, according to the Quebec government. Only 115 nurses’ aides have received permanent residence selection from the province of Quebec since 2013. The new program will focus on bringing in 550 nurses’ aides per year.
The government also reported that artificial intelligence and information technology industries are booming in Quebec. A new immigration pilot would allow the province to pick 550 highly-skilled workers annually for immigration. The aim of implementing this pilot is to attract and maintain skilled talent in these fields and contribute to the strength of Quebec.