Connecticut, US

Jun 04 2020

Stricter Requirements for the Quebec Experience Program Forthcoming

Canada
  • The Ministry of Immigration, Francisation and Integration announced stricter rules for the Quebec Experience Program (PEQ) – the fast-tracked program in the permanent residence process in Quebec – most of which are expected to go into effect on June 29, 2020.
  • Changes include longer work experience requirements for the Temporary Foreign Worker and Graduate Student streams, stricter language requirements, and longer processing times.
  • The changes will make it more difficult for many foreign nationals, including temporary residents working or studying in Quebec, to apply for permanent residence in Quebec.

The situation

The Ministry of Immigration, Francisation and Integration (MIFI) in Canada has announced stricter rules for the Quebec Experience Program (PEQ), most which are expected to go into effect on June 29, 2020.

A closer look

Notably, the processing time for the Certificate of Selection under the PEQ category will increase from approximately one month to up to six months. Other relevant changes will include:

Category New rule Current rule Impact

PEQ (Temporary Foreign Workers)

Temporary foreign workers residing in Quebec will need to acquire at least 36 months of full-time work experience within the 48 months prior to filing a Quebec Selection Certificate (CSQ) application.

Currently, only one year of full-time work experience is required.

Foreign nationals will have to wait longer before filing a CSQ application under the new rules. 

PEQ (Quebec Graduate)

Foreign students residing in Quebec who hold a diploma from a Quebec academic institution will need to acquire either 12 months or 24 months of full-time work experience prior to filing a CSQ application.

Currently, there is no work experience requirement for this category.

Foreign nationals will have to wait longer before filing a CSQ application under the new rules.

French language requirement for spouses

Spouses will need to demonstrate a level 4 oral proficiency on one of the province’s recognized tests in French in order to obtain a CSQ.

Currently, there is no language requirement.

The change is meant to ease the principal applicant’s spouse’s integration into the Quebec society, but will make it harder for spouses to qualify for the PEQ program.

French language certificates

Language certificates obtained by applicants through a language course offered by the government of Quebec will no longer be accepted to satisfy the French language requirement.

These language certificates currently satisfy the French language requirement in order to submit a CSQ.

Foreign nationals will have to take the designated standardized French exams to satisfy the language requirement.

Foreign nationals working in artificial intelligence and information technology; and caregivers

550 CSQs will be reserved annually for those who work in the artificial intelligence and in the information technology sectors and an additional 550 CSQs will be reserved annually for caregivers.

There are no designated carveouts for these industries.

Foreign nationals in these industries will have an increased chance of obtaining permanent residence.

 

General impact

The changes will make it difficult for many foreign nationals, including temporary residents working or studying in Quebec, to apply for permanent residence in Quebec, as they may no longer qualify for a CSQ under the restrictive rules of the PEQ program.  Foreign nationals who will no longer qualify for a CSQ under the new rules should contact their immigration professional for additional guidance.

Background

  • Definition of CSQ. Foreign nationals applying for permanent residence in Quebec must first apply for a CSQ from the 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 residence to the federal immigration authorities.
  • PEQ program restrictiveness continues. These changes build upon the stricter requirements for the PEQ program that were implemented in November 2019 and January 2020.

 

Looking ahead

The Quebec government is expected to continue to regulate the number of foreign nationals who can apply for a CSQ by implementing other restrictive requirements which preserve the French language and values of Quebec.

Fragomen will report on related developments.

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to [email protected].