Quebec Experience Program (PEQ): Spouses Much Now Show French-Language Proficiency

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Canada immigration news: A new requirement for spouses of applicants under Quebec’s Programme de l’expérience québécoise – known as the Quebec Experience Program (PEQ) – to be able to speak basic French has come into force.

Quebec announced in July last year it was making changes to the PEQ. Among them was the requirement that spouses and common-law partners of applicants for immigration or permanent residence would have to demonstrate a Level 4 proficiency on its Échelle québécoise des compétences en français.

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But the francophone province hit the pause button on that requirement last year to give anyone who did not have that level of French proficiency to take a course.

“An interim measure allowed for a delay of one year to the application of this requirement of this level of French for spouses or common-law partners in order to provide them with the time needed to take French-language training,” noted Quebec’s Ministry of Immigration, Francisation and Integration (MIFI) in a statement.

“This requirement can be met … through the free French-language courses offered by the ministry, which are offered either full-time or part-time.”

The new requirement took effect on July 22. The Quebec immigration department did not specify in its release what penalties there maybe for those who fail to demonstrate that level of French proficiency.

The changes that came down last year saw new work experience requirements introduced for international students and an increase in work experience requirements for temporary foreign workers.

The admissible occupation levels for temporary workers were also changed at that time.

Under the Increased work experience requirement that came down last year:

  • temporary workers were required to have 24 months of full-time work experience during the 48 months preceding their request for permanent selection, and;
  • Quebec graduates were required to have 12 or 24 months of full-time work experience to qualify for the PEQ. Mandatory internships as part of study programs were to count up to a maximum of three months of full-time work. For holders of a vocational diploma, the work experience requirement was to be 18 months.

The applicants were also required to show proof of their French-language proficiency. Certificates from advanced intermediate level French courses offered in Quebec through educational institutions would no longer be admissible as proof of knowledge of French.

The PEQ is a simplified, fast-track process leading to permanent residence for the two categories of applicants. The program allows international students and temporary foreign workers to apply for permanent residence from within Quebec, after completing a period of qualified work or approved studies.

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