New eligibility criteria for the popular Quebec Experience Class or programme de l’expérience québécoise (PEQ) came into effect on July 22, 2020. The heavily criticized new regulations require candidates to have more work experience to be eligible to apply.
The PEQ program
Similar to the Canadian Experience Class program, PEQ is a popular pathway for international students and temporary workers in Quebec to obtain Canadian permanent residence. Eligible candidates received their certificat de sélection du Québec (CSQ) much faster than if they applied to the Quebec Skilled Worker program and their permanent residence status would follow shortly after.
New PEQ rules for international students
Under the new PEQ regulations, students now need work experience in Quebec to be eligible to apply. Students who graduate from a Quebec university now require 12 months of Quebec work experience in NOC skill level O, A, or B. Students who graduate from an eligible diploma program in Quebec (DEP) now require 12 months of work experience. DEP graduates are allowed to count work experience that falls under NOC skill level C as long as the experience is in their field of study.
Work experience obtained in Quebec that was part of an internship can be counted towards the 12-month requirement, to a maximum of three months.
New PEQ rules for temporary workers
Temporary workers in Quebec, whose work experience falls under NOC skill level O, A, or B, need to have accrued 24 months of work experience in the past 36 months.
PEQ language requirements
The French language requirements for PEQ principal applicants remain the same. Candidates must demonstrate a high-intermediate proficiency in French. Part of the new PEQ regulations will require the spouses of principal applicants to demonstrate an advanced-beginner proficiency in French. These new rules do not come into effect until July 22, 2021.
Accepted French-language tests or courses:
- Test d’évaluation du français adapté pour le Québec (TEFAQ)
- Test de connaissance du français pour le Québec (TCF-Québec)
- Test d’évaluation du français (TEF)
- Test d’évaluation du français pour le Canada (TEF Canada)
- Test de connaissance du français (TCF)
- Diplôme d’études en langue française (DELF)
- Diplôme approfondi de langue française (DALF)
Transitional measures for existing workers and students
When the proposed PEQ changes were first introduced, they were heavily criticized. In response, the Quebec government implemented transitional measures that reduce the impact on students and workers currently in Quebec.
- Temporary workers in Quebec whose work permits/work authorization were valid prior to July 21, 2020, will be processed under the old regulations.
- International students who will graduate with a diploma issued before January 1, 2021, will also be processed under the previous regulations.