On May 28, 2020 it was published in the Gazette Officielle du Québec, a draft Regulation to amend the Québec Immigration Regulation for the Programme de l’expérience Québécoise.
The proposed reform to the PEQ is supposed to facilitate a better integration to the labor market of a new immigrant. The goal was to also allow a more effective selection of immigrants in order to answer to the labor market needs in addition to the requirement of French language, which would facilitate this integration.
However, since it has been published, the draft regulation has received many criticisms from students, workers, immigration lawyers and consultants.
The most significant change to the PEQ-Graduates is that after the completion of your studies (bachelors, masters, doctoral or technical college), you will have to demonstrate 12 months of full-time work experience within the 24 months preceding the application. This means that the student will have no choice but to apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit in order to accumulate the required 12 months of work experience which should be at level 0, A or B NOC.
If you completed a DEP of 1800 hours you must demonstrate that you have 24 months of full-time employment completed in the last 36 months prior to the submission of the application. The job must be held at a level 0, A, B or C NOC.
The main issue of the proposed reform is that there is no possibility of a “droit acquis” (acquired right) for international students who hold study permits in Canada at the time the new PEQ-Graduate comes into effect. This means that you need to submit your application before the effective date so the current rules will apply. If you are about to complete your study program – which most probably suffered delays due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, you will need to show the required work experience (of 12 or 24 months depending on your diploma).
The loss of the acquired right for students that were in Quebec and will only finish their studies after the PEQ-Graduate comes into effect, breaks the promise that the Government of Quebec made back in the fall of 2019.
It is important to note that the draft regulation is not yet in force, this means that it is not yet valid as drafted, and the current regulation is still in effect until the new regulation is published. We hope and expect that a droit acquis condition will be added to the regulation’s final version.
With respect to the PEQ-Worker the reform proposes a modification from 12 months of full-time employment in the last 24 months prior to the submission of the application to 36 months of full-time employment in the last 48 months, this modification increased the work experience requirement from 1 year to 3 years. The draft regulation stipulates transitional measures that will apply to workers who hold a valid work permit before the amendments come into effect. This means that these workers who have been working in Quebec for one year will be able to apply under the current rules if they fulfill all of its conditions.
No other province in Canada requires 3 years of work experience in order to be able to qualify as a skilled worker. If this proposed modification is maintained, this will certainly make the province of Quebec less attractive to potential immigrants.
Furthermore, foreign workers and companies will most probably have to reapply for a LMIA and CAQ and extend the worker’s work permit multiple times in order to accumulate the 3-year work experience required. This will multiply the procedures and elevate the financial costs for the worker and the Quebec company that is interested in hiring a foreign worker.
Moreover, workers under the level C and D NOC will no longer be able apply for Selection of Quebec if the amendments come into effect as drafted, no matter how long their work experience is.
Finally, the draft regulation also significantly increases the processing time of C.S.Q applications. The processing time of 20 days will be increased to maximum of 6 months in order to meet the always increasing demand.
As mentioned above, the draft regulation is not yet in effect. This means that the current rules still apply. If you have concerns on how the changes will affect your plans to immigrate to Quebec, do not hesitate to contact our best immigration lawyer in Montreal and book a consultation.