Canada | Immigration | The Government of Quebec to Ease PEQ rules announced in May

The Quebec government is making changes to the PEQ rules introduced last May that have impacted both foreign students and temporary foreign employees.


Graduates this year will be able to take advantage of the rules currently in place to join the Quebec Experience Program (PEQ), Quebec's new minister of immigration, Nadine Girault, declared.


Students in Quebec who have obtained a diploma will be eligible for the PEQ, for those who obtain a diploma by December 31, 2020 will be able to apply in accordance with the rules in force before the new regulations come into force.


On May 28, the Quebec government had proposed more strict criteria for the PEQ, raising the standards for temporary foreign workers (TFWs) to be qualified for the PEQ from the existing 12 months to 36 months. The work experience needed for TFWs now has been set to 24 months.


In May, Quebec had also announced a 12 to 24 month work experience requirement for international students, depending on their study program.


It was announced that conditions for students in terms of length and work experience would be eased. As such, job experience gained as part of the study program during a compulsory internship will be accepted, up to a limit of three months of full-time work.


The amendments announced, will come into effect as of 22 July 2020. Before the new regulations come into force, the existing PEQ eligibility criteria will continue to apply and all applications received before the new regulations come into force will be processed according to current rules.


Quebec Experience Program Requirements summary


 The Programme de l'expérience québécoise (PEQ – Québec Experience Program) is one of two programs for economic immigration in Quebec, and the other is the Regular Skilled Worker Program (PRTQ). Launched in 2010 the PEQ quickly became a common immigration stream as it provides a fast track to permanent residence for temporary foreign workers (TFWs) and international students already in Quebec.


Foreign students


To apply for the PEQ, foreign students who receive a university degree in Quebec or a Quebec college diploma would be expected to have 12 months of full-time Quebec work experience in jobs falling under National Occupational Classification (NOC) codes 0, A, and B. We would also be expected to hold such employment at the time the application is submitted.


Students who receive a Quebec technical studies diploma will require 18 months of Quebec work experience in jobs at NOC 0, A, B, and C. Students working in C-level employment can only be eligible under the new PEQ rules if their work experience is related to their Quebec study program.


Job experience obtained through compulsory internships by foreign students as part of the study program can be counted against the requirement for a period of three months.


Temporary Foreign Workers


Temporary foreign workers (TFWs) will also need to gain at least 24 months of full-time work experience in NOC 0, A, B , and C positions in the 32 months preceding their application for permanent residency. They will also be required at the time of application to hold such jobs.


Temporary foreign workers holding a work permit and who are in Quebec before the regulation enters into force will be able to request an application under the regulations that existed before the reforms came into effect, including employees in level C and D jobs as specified by the NOC program.


Under conditions applicable before the new rules come into effect, foreign students who have graduated with a qualified PEQ diploma or who will receive one by December 31, 2020 will be able to apply.

Knowledge of French for Spouses


To ensure that all candidates chosen under the PEQ have adequate knowledge of French and to facilitate greater integration opportunities in Quebec society, the province will mandate spouses of Primary applicants under the PEQ to demonstrate a spoken knowledge of French at Level 4.


However, one year after the new regulations come into force, that is, on July 22, 2021, this requirement will take 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. However, those individuals who have already taken, taken or registered in courses before the new regulations come into force will still be able to submit these documents as evidence.


Third New Pilot announced


A new pilot program for the Agri-food industry announced by Girault.  One of the two pilot programs that were already announced will be designated to address the high demand for Nurse aides and attendants in the province. The other program focuses on Artificial Intelligence and Information Technology sectors which are booming in Quebec.


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