Quebec’s Immigration Rules May Deter International Students, Say McGill and Concordia

Quebec’s Immigration Rules May Deter International Students, Say McGill and Concordia
Canada immigration free assessment

Quebec’s new immigration rules necessitating international students to learn French will turn them away from coming to the province, Montreal-based McGill and Concordia universities have said.

McGill’s deputy provost of student life and learning Fabrice Labeau told the legislature committee examining recently tabled immigration policy reforms that one of the “involuntary consequences” of the changes to the Programme de l’experience Quebecoise (PEQ) is that international students without knowledge of French will be deterred from applying and gaining Quebec jobs, reports the Montreal Gazette.

PEQ is a fast-track for international students to obtain a Quebec selection certificate – a step towards gaining permanent residency. International students can apply to the program, as well as new arrivals who have gained a degree at a Quebec institution in the last two years.

Christine Frechette announced changes to the program’s functioning in May, when she tabled a reform package.

The widely popular PEQ – which welcomes a wide range of academic options – started distinguishing between francophone and anglophone applicants in an effort to increase more French-oriented applicants.

Read More Canada Immigration News

Canada Still Issuing Visas To Indians Despite Plummeting Relations 
Canada Immigration Minister Says Citizenship Oath May Still Become One-Click
Jobs In Toronto: The Top 10 Occupations With Most Vacancies

Herein, foreign students who studied in French or are francophone will benefit from a fast-tracked system designed to retain them in the country, wherein they can make a request to apply for a certificate leading to permanent residency instead of waiting 12 to 18 months to qualify for the same.

Students who come to Quebec to study in English and do not have sufficient French under their belt will no longer qualify for the PEQ and its added advantages.

This is largely in line with Frechette’s overall immigration reforms in the economic category, which is controlled by Quebec.

McGill said that because most of its international students fail to meet the criteria underlined under this reform, a “two-tier” system would be created.

“Our students risk emerging as the losers in this exercise,” Labeau told the committee in his presentation.

“Would it not be preferable to evaluate each immigration candidate individually instead of indicating from the get-go a preference for those who studied in francophone programs?” McGill added in a six-page brief to the committee, as reported by the Gazette.

Other Options For Anglophones

However, Frechette was insistent on her claim that anglophone international students will have other options for immigration, such as the ability to apply to the PEQ if they have taken three years of secondary or post-secondary courses in French.

Moreover, they will also have the option of applying for permanent residency after a year of work under the Programme de selection des travailleurs qualifies, considering they master French to a desirable degree.

Concordia also challenged the policy, arguing in a brief dating July that the new rules will “de facto exclude graduates from anglophone universities, even if they master French.”

It argues that the PEQ will only be available to students from certain nationalities, while those from China, India, United States, and the likes will fail to qualify under it.

Quoting StatsCan, it argues that 30 percent of international students in Quebec over the last 10 years and found work via PEQ have become residents and productive workforce contributors, at a time when the provincial economy is suffering from a shortage.

Major Impact On Availability Of Labour

Some 93.3 percent of Concordia international students gained their citizenship through PEQ in 2017.

“Inevitably, these students will turn to other provinces and, if these changes are adopted, will have a major impact on the availability of immigrant labour in Quebec, especially in engineering and science,” Concordia said.

Frechette’s officials defended the policy after questions from the Montreal Gazette, noting that Quebec’s commissioner of the French language Benoit Dubreuil urged that the government act prudently with its plans because the daily use of French “is important.”

“That is the reason we have decided to render the knowledge of French a requirement for practically all the economic (immigration) programs,” the statement said.

“We want people who live in Quebec to integrate, in French.”

McGill’s brief, on the other hand, says that the new system will pose serious problems for universities that offer most of their programs in English.

“We fear a good part of our student population will review their plans to come and study at McGill for fear of not being able to stay in Quebec after obtaining their degrees.”

The Quebec Experience Program (PEQ)

The Quebec Experience Program – or the Programme de l’experience Quebecoise (PEQ) is for foreign students who are Quebec graduates or temporary foreign workers.

It allows them to obtain a Quebec selection certificate to settle in the province permanently.

The Program has two streams:

Candidates need to meet the general conditions of the program and the specific conditions of the stream in which they submit their application:

Conditions for Temporary Foreign Workers

General Conditions

You must prove that:

Specific Conditions for the Stream

You must be legally in Québec as a temporary foreign worker or under a youth exchange program, including:

  • Working Holiday
  • Young Professionals
  • International Co-op Internship.

Work Experience (National Occupation Classification)

The jobs which you have held must:

  • correspond to a profession at level 0, A or B of the National Occupational Classification ;
  • have been performed legally;
  • have been full time (minimum of 30 hours of paid work a week);
  • have been paid.

You must also have a job that meets these criteria at the time you apply and for at least 24 of the 36 months before you submit your application.

No part-time work period can be considered for eligibility for the PEQ.

Non-continuous work experience be considered in your application if it was full time.

Watch video: 

Conditions for Quebec Graduates

General Conditions

You must prove that:

Conditions Of The Graduate Stream

To be selected for the Québec Graduate stream of the Programme de l’expérience québécoise (PEQ – Québec experience program), you must:

  • Have obtained an eligible diploma
  • Have obtained eligible work experience in Québec following your study program
  • Have stayed in Québec for at least half the duration of your study program

Eligible Diplomas

  • Bachelor’s degree (university undergraduate)
  • Master’s degree (including an MBA)
  • Ph.D.
  • Diploma of college studies, technical training (DCS)
  • Diploma of vocational studies (DVS) attesting to 1,800 hours or more of study
  • Diploma of vocational studies (DVS) followed by an Attestation of vocational specialization (AVS) of 1,800 hours or more of continuing education leading to a given trade

You must have obtained your diploma:

  • In the 36 months preceding the submission of your application
  • In a full-time study program
  • In an education institution in Québec

Work Experience (National Occupational Classification)

The required work experience varies depending on the type of diploma you obtained.

If you have obtained a DVS of 1,800 hours or more of training, alone or with an AVS, you must have obtained work experience:

To be eligible, you must also hold a full-time job at one of the following NOC levels when you submit your application:

  • If your job is at level 0, A or B, it does not have to be related to your study program
  • If your job is level C, it must be related to the DVS you obtained in Québec.

For all other PEQ-eligible diplomas, you must have gained paid work experience after completing your study program:

To be eligible, you must also hold a full-time job at the same NOC level 0, A or B when you submit your application. This job does not have to be related to your study program.

Work experience you acquired during a mandatory internship for your study program may be recognized. To do so, you must have received a work permit issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)

  • For a full-time internship, your experience may be recognized for a maximum of three months.
  • For a part-time internship, the recognized period corresponds to its full-time equivalent.

Non-continuous work experience be considered in your application if it was full time.

Canada immigration free assessment
Previous articleOntario Express Entry Draw: Province Targets Family Doctors And Nurses With 1,696 Invitations 
Next articleImmigrate To Canada As An Architecture Or Science Manager: All You Need To Know
Colin Singer
Colin Singer is an international acclaimed Canadian immigration lawyer and founder of featured on Wikipedia. Colin Singer is also founding director of the Canadian Citizenship & Immigration Resource Center (CCIRC) Inc. He served as an Associate Editor of ‘Immigration Law Reporter’, the pre-eminent immigration law publication in Canada. He previously served as an executive member of the Canadian Bar Association’s Quebec and National Immigration Law Sections and is currently a member of the Canadian Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Colin has twice appeared as an expert witness before Canada’s House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration. He is frequently recognized as a recommended authority at national conferences sponsored by government and non-government organizations on matters affecting Canada’s immigration and human resource industries. Since 2009, Colin has been a Governor of the Quebec Bar Foundation a non-profit organization committed to the advancement of the profession, and became a lifetime member in 2018.