Changes made to the PEQ rules by the Government of Quebec
On July 09, 2020, the Minister of Immigration, Francization, and Integration, Ms. Nadine Girault, presented improvements to the reform of the Québec Experience Program (PEQ) which has enjoyed strong popularity in recent years. This program is intended for Québec graduates or future graduates and temporary foreign workers who hold a skilled job and who meet certain conditions. A vast majority of skilled temporary foreign workers have been selected through the PEQ program as a result of which limited numbers of invitations were issued through the Arrima portal. A reform to the PEQ rules was thus necessary in order to ensure better adequacy with the labor needs of Quebec and to strike a balance with the immigration programs. The changes to the PEQ rules will take effect on July 22, 2020.
1) Duration of work experience for Temporary Foreign Workers (TFWs)
- Temporary Foreign Workers (TFWs) work experience requirements will be now set at 24 months of full-time work experience in NOC O, A, B level jobs. Candidates will be required to hold such a job at the time of application. It should be recalled that on May 28, 2020, the government of Quebec had increased the work experience requirement from 12 months to 36 months.
- Temporary Foreign Workers (TFWs) holding a work permit and staying in Quebec before the coming into force of the regulation will be able to apply according to the selection conditions that applied before the changes took effect including workers in Level C and D jobs within the National Occupation Classification (NOC).
With this change, retention of Foreign Temporary Workers (TFWs) in Quebec businesses will be promoted as well as administrative procedures for employers will be reduced mainly when renewing permits.
The Minister of Immigration, Francization and Integration, Ms. Nadine Girault also announced that the government is working on the implementation of 3 permanent Immigration pilot programs targeting:
These 3 pilot programs will be implemented to meet the recruitment challenges that persist in specific employment sectors.
2) Flexibilities for the duration and work experience requirements for international students
– International students who are already in Quebec will be able to submit a request under the conditions in effect before the coming into force of the new regulation by the authorities. It should be pointed out that this temporary measure will apply to those students who:
- have obtained a qualification eligible for the PEQ or
- will obtain it by latest December 31, 2020
– International students who have graduated with a university degree or diploma or college studies in Quebec must meet the following requirements to be eligible for PEQ:
- have acquired at least 12 months’ full-time work experience in Quebec within the NOC codes O, A, and B;
- candidates will be required to hold such a job at the time of submission of the application;
- the duration and work experience acquired during a mandatory internship as part of the students’ study program will be considered up to a maximum of 3 months of full-time work.
– Eligibility for Vocational Quebec diploma holders is:
- reduced to 18 months’ work experience within the NOC codes O, A, B, and C. Level C experience is only admissible if it was acquired in a profession related to the diploma obtained in Quebec;
- Candidates must also hold such employment at the time of submitting their applications.
In the case of a part-time (PT) internship, the duration will correspond to its full-time equivalent.
3) Intermediate knowledge of spoken French for spouse
- Spouses of principal applicants under the PEQ program will have to demonstrate a Level 4 spoken knowledge of French. This requirement will, however, enter into force on June 22, 2021, and will not apply to those candidates whose request is made before that date. This reform will ensure that all candidates selected under the PEQ has minimal knowledge of French. It will also give opportunities for integration into the Quebec society to the spouse or common-law partner of the main applicant.
- Additionally, the department will continue to accept, after the date of coming into force of the new regulation, the certificate of successful completion of the advanced intermediate level French courses delivered by a Quebec institution. This will apply to only those candidates who have already taken, are taking, or have registered in courses prior to the coming into force of the new regulations.
- The new rule has also eliminated the submission of the certificate of successful completion of a French level 7, offered by a Quebec institution as proof of knowledge of French. Other means that can be presented to demonstrate knowledge of French remains.