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Quebec will increase work experience requirements under the Quebec Experience Program (PEQ) and introduce two new pilots targeting specific occupations in changes announced on Thursday, May 28.
Under the changes, revealed by Immigration Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette, temporary foreign workers will require three years of experience in the last four, while graduates will need one or two years of work experience to qualify for Quebec immigration.
Two new pilot programs will see 550 Quebec Selection Certificates (CSQ) per year set aside for:
- Beneficiary attendants (orderlies), and
- Occupations in the artificial intelligence and information technology industry.
The changes will also see target processing times for the PEQ increase to six months to allow “consistency and better equity” between the PEQ and the Quebec Skilled Worker Program, according to a press release from the Ministry of Immigration, Francisation and Integration (MIFI).
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Further reforms will see the completion of an advanced intermediate level French course offered in Quebec by an educational institution removed as an acceptable proof of French knowledge.
In a further change that will come into force in a year, spouses of principal applicants will be required to demonstrate oral knowledge of French at level 4.
These changes are Jolin-Barrette’s second attempt at reforming the PEQ after he was forced to embarrassingly role back measures introduced in fall 2019.
“The changes we are making will promote better integration of immigrants into the job market,” Jolin-Barrette said. “We will contribute to the effort to revive economic activity by selecting people who have the skills necessary for economic recovery.”
Figures show the number of CSQs issued through the PEQ has risen dramatically since 2010.
In 2019, 14,748 CSQs were issued through the program, compared to the 2010 total of 1,895. In 2019, the number of foreign workers to rexceive CSQs rose to 9,881 from 5,566 in 2018, an increase of 78 percent.
Proposed Changes to Quebec Experience Program
1) Increased Work Experience
- Temporary workers will be required to have 36 months of full-time work experience during the 48 months preceding their request for permanent selection. A transitional measure is expected before the new regulations come into force.
- Quebec graduates will require 12 or 24 months of full-time work experience to qualify for the PEQ. Until the regulation comes into force, those with a Post-Graduation Work Permit can apply through the temporary worker category if they meet the conditions to benefit from the transitional measure.
2) Knowledge of French for Spouses
Spouses of principal applicants will have to demonstrate a level 4 oral knowledge of French. This measure will only come into force in a year.
3) Proof of French Ability
A certificate of success of an advanced intermediate level French course offered in Quebec by an educational institution will no longer be admissible as proof of knowledge of French.
4) Processing Time
Target processing times will increase from 20 days to 6 months, given “the significant increase in requests submitted in the PEQ”.
5) Pilot Programs
Beneficiary Attendants (Orderlies)
A new pilot program will target beneficiary attendants (NOC 3413), reserving 550 CSQs per year for candidates in the position. Under the current Quebec immigration system, just 115 such candidates have been selected since 2013.
- Artificial Intelligence and Information Technology