Virginia, US

Nov 05 2019

Stricter Requirements Implemented for Quebec Experience Program and Quebec Skilled Worker Program

Canada

At a Glance

  • The Quebec government has implemented more restrictive language, degree and profession requirements for the Quebec Experience Program and the Quebec Skilled Worker Program.
  • The new changes may prevent many foreign nationals, including temporary residents working or studying in Quebec, from applying for permanent residency in Quebec, as they may no longer qualify for a Quebec Selection Certificate under the restrictive rules.
  • It is likely that the government will provide further details for these changes in the upcoming weeks as these changes are controversial and highly restrictive to immigrants in Quebec.

The situation

The Ministry of Immigration Francisation and Integration (MIFI) has published new, stricter requirements for the issuance of Quebec Selection Certificates (CSQs) for the Quebec Experience Program (PEQ) and the Quebec Skilled Worker Program.

Quebec Experience Program

Immediate changes to the PEQ – which is for Temporary Foreign Workers and eligible post-secondary graduates of schools in Quebec – include the following:

  • Reopening of PEQ. Effective November 1, 2019, foreign graduates in Quebec can again submit applications for CSQs under the PEQ, which was closed from July 10 to November 1, 2019. The new, more restrictive selection criteria includes a new government list of allowable areas of training under the PEQ and stricter requirements for the amount of training required.
  • New jobs list for Temporary Foreign Workers. As of November 1, 2019, Temporary Foreign Workers eligible for the PEQ must hold a job on the List of Jobs in Demand under the PEQ and must not be in an ineligible field, self-employed or working in a company controlled by the foreign national.

 

Forthcoming requirements in 2020

The following will apply to foreign nationals applying under the Quebec graduate or Temporary Foreign Worker program starting January 1, 2020:

  • New language requirements. There will be stricter requirements detailing how French language ability can be demonstrated.
  • New spousal requirements. The spouse or de facto spouse included in the principal’s application for selection must demonstrate advanced knowledge of spoken French. Previously, there was no such requirement.
  • Pending applications. For both Quebec graduates and Temporary Foreign Worker applicants, the new changes stated above are retroactive and will apply to pending applications that have not been processed yet as of the date the change is implemented.

 

Quebec Skilled Worker Program

  • New ranking system. Foreign nationals applying under this program will be ranked in a new system similar to the Express Entry programs where points are awarded based on age, education in Quebec, French ability and level of education, among other factors. Importantly, under the ranking system, education acquired in Quebec is favoured over other countries, and work in Canada and the United States is favoured as opposed to work in other countries.
  • New CSQ criteria. As of November 1, 2019, CSQs are sent out according to factors such as the ranking score, the region of residence in Quebec, the education level and area of training on the government list, among others.   

 

Background

  • Definition of CSQ. Foreign nationals applying for permanent residence in Quebec must first apply for a CSQ from MIFI. When issued, CSQs declare that the foreign national has been selected to settle in Quebec and allows the foreign national to submit an application for permanent residency to the federal immigration authorities.
  • Purpose of changes. The changes are designed to encourage immigration by foreign nationals whose training and work experience will fulfil a labor market need in Quebec. These changes also encourage foreign nationals to learn French and the province’s values in order to better integrate into Quebec society.

 

Impact

The new changes may prevent many foreign nationals, including temporary residents already working or studying in Quebec, from applying for permanent residency as they may no longer qualify for a CSQ.

Looking ahead

Quebec’s immigration programs are becoming more restrictive with requirements intended to fulfil the labor market needs and preserve the French language and the values of Quebec. It is likely that the MIFI will provide further details and explanations for these changes in the upcoming days and weeks as these changes are controversial and highly restrictive to immigrants in Quebec.

If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to canada@fragomen.com.