Quebec toughens QEP requirements for international students

Quebec toughens QEP requirements for international students

Quebec province in Canada has increased the minimum requirements for international students to apply for permanent residence through its QEP scheme.

Quebec has announced significant changes to its Quebec Experience Program (QEP) [known as Programme de l’Experience Quebecoise (PEQ) in French] immigration scheme, including increasing work experience requirements for international students wanting to settle in the Canada province.

The changes are set to be implemented sometime in Summer 2020, Quebec’s Minister of Immigration, Francization and Integration Simon Jolin-Barrette has said.

International students now need minimum 1 year work experience for Quebec QEP

Under new regulations, international students in Quebec will require at least 1 year of work experience prior to the date of application to be eligible for permanent residence via Quebec QEP.

Work experience requirements will also vary by educational qualifications.

While graduates with a Bachelor, Master, Doctorate or Technical diploma will need to show 1 year full-time work in the preceding 2 years, graduates with a vocational studies diploma (DEP) will need to show 2 years work experience in the preceding 3 years.

NOC types C & D no longer count towards work experience

With the changes in place, a significant change to the QEP will also be in type of work that makes candidates eligible for permanent residence.

While relevance of work experience to the field of study has not been mandated, the reforms have introduced an exclusion for work experience gained in fields that might be classed as low skilled.

Jobs that are categorised as National Occupational Classification (NOC) types 0, A and B, will continue to be eligible.

However, applicants with work experience in NOC type C (categorised as “intermediate jobs”) and NOC type D (categorised as “labour jobs”) will no longer qualify for QEP.

French language skills requirement introduced

Currently, graduates do not require to evidence French language skills to be eligible for QEP selection.

However, with the new changes implemented, applicants will be expected to show a minimum “Level 4” (on a scale of 0 to 12) knowledge of French to be eligible.

A French language minimum requirement for spouses applying via QEP is also set to be introduced.

Temporary foreign workers in Quebec hit by QEP reforms

One of the most significant changes within these reforms will be the impact on work experience requirements for temporary foreign workers to qualify for QEP permanent residence.

At the moment, temporary foreign workers need to possess 12 months of work experience to be eligible.

This has now been increased three-fold, with the new eligibility criteria mandating a minimum of 36 months of work experience within the 48 months prior to application.

Quebec QEP a popular route to Canada permanent residence

With respect to international students, the Quebec Experience Program is open to those who have graduated from a recognised institution in the province with any of the following:

  • Diploma of Vocational Studies (Diplôme d’Études Professionelles) with 1,800 study hours;
  • Diploma of College Studies (Diplôme d’Études Collégiales technique);
  • Bachelor degree;
  • Master degree; or
  • Doctorate.

Radio Canada notes that, since the introduction of QEP in 2010, over 15,000 foreign students and temporary workers have gained permanent residence in the province through the scheme.

Pic: Adrien Olichon

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