Quebec easing PEQ rules announced in May

Alexandra Miekus
Published: July 9, 2020

Pour lire cet article en français, cliquez ici.

This year's graduates will be able to take advantage of the rules currently in effect to access the Quebec Experience Program (PEQ), announced Quebec's new immigration minister, Nadine Girault.

Students already in Quebec,  who will have obtained a diploma eligible for the PEQ, or who will obtain it by December 31, 2020, will be able to apply under the rules in effect before the new regulations come into force.

The Government of Quebec had announced stricter rules for the PEQ on May 28, increasing work experience requirements for temporary foreign workers (TFWs) from the current 12 months to 36 months to be eligible for the PEQ. The length of work experience required for TFWs has now been set to 24 months.

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

Today, it was announced that the duration and work experience requirements for students will be eased. As such, work experience acquired during a mandatory internship as part of the program of study will be considered, up to a maximum of three months of full-time work.

The changes announced today will take effect on July 22, 2020.  Until the new regulations come into force, the current requirements for PEQ eligibility will continue to apply and all applications received prior to the coming into force of the new regulations will be processed under the current rules.

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Overview of Quebec Experience Program Requirements

The PEQ is part of two economic immigration programs in Quebec, the other one being the Regular Skilled Worker Program (PRTQ). The PEQ was launched in 2010 and quickly became a very popular immigration stream as it provides a fast-track to permanent residence for temporary foreign workers (TFWs) and international students who are already in Quebec.

International students

In order to be eligible for the PEQ, international students who obtain a university degree in Quebec or a Quebec diploma of college studies will be required to have 12 months of full-time Quebec work experience in jobs that fall within National Occupational Classification (NOC) codes 0, A, and B. They will also be required to hold such employment at the time of submission of the application.

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

Work experience acquired by international students during the mandatory internships as part of the study program may be counted towards the requirement for a maximum of three months.

Temporary Foreign Workers

Temporary foreign workers (TFWs) will now need to obtain at least 24 months of full-time work experience in NOC 0, A, B, and C level jobs. They will also be required to hold such employment at the time of the application.

Transitional Measures

Temporary foreign workers who hold a work permit and who are in Quebec before the regulation comes into force will be able to submit an application under the rules that applied before the reforms come into effect, including workers in level C and D jobs as defined by the NOC system.

International students who have graduated with a PEQ eligible diploma or who will obtain one by December 31, 2020, will be able to apply under conditions that applied before the new rules come into force.

French knowledge for spouses

In order to ensure that all candidates selected under the PEQ have minimal knowledge of French and to promote better opportunities of integration into Quebec society, the province will require spouses of principal applicants under the PEQ to demonstrate a Level 4 spoken knowledge of French.

However, this requirement will come into effect one year after the new regulations come into force, that is, on July 22, 2021.

Certificates of successful completion of advanced intermediate level French courses issued by educational institutions in Quebec will no longer be admissible as proof of knowledge of French. However, individuals who have already taken, are taking or have registered in courses prior to the coming into force of the new regulations will still be able submit these documents as proof.

A third new pilot project is added

Girault also announced a new pilot program for the agri-food industry today. She has not yet provided details about the program.The province had already announced two other pilot projects in May.

One pilot project will be designed to address the high demand for nurse’s aides and beneficiary attendants across the province. The province's goal would be to bring in up to 550 nursing aides per year through this pilot project.

The other pilot project focuses on the artificial intelligence and information technology sector, which is booming in Quebec. A new pilot project will be implemented to enable the province to select 550 highly qualified workers in these fields on an annual basis.

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