Monday, February 22, 2010

Québec introduces new immigration program based on experience gained in Québec (Programme de l'expérience québécoise)

Canada
February 11 2010

By introducing its new "Québec Experience Class" Program ("Programme de l'expérience québécoise", or "PEQ") based on experience gained in Québec, the province will meet an objective it had set for itself in a document released in March 2008 entitled "To enrich Québec - Better Integration". Basically, the PEQ aims to promote the transition from a Temporary Resident status to that of Permanent Resident for Foreign Students and Temporary Workers. The program is expected to enter in force on February 14, 2010, the date on which the amendments to Québec's Regulation Respecting the Selection of Foreign Nationals become effective.

PEQ's intent is to facilitate the application process for a Québec Selection Certificate for Foreign Students having graduated in Québec and Temporary Workers having worked in Québec as a first step prior to obtaining Permanent Resident status from the federal government. By introducing the program, Québec follows the federal example and makes experience gained in Québec and knowledge of the French language key selection factors when applying for immigration in Québec. For such applicants under PEQ, the traditional selection grid will not apply and there will be fewer documents to include with an application. In addition, applications may be sent electronically and will be processed on a documents-only basis.

Specific requirements applicable to Foreign Students are the following: (1) the applicant must have stayed in Québec for at least half of the duration of the educational program's duration and have conformed to the student visa conditions; (2) the applicant must have obtained from an education institution in Québec subsequent to February 13, 2008, either of: i) a diploma of professional education or a certificate of professional education, which alone or combined with an attestation of professional specialization (obtained consecutively) attests to over 1,800 hours of continuous education; ii) a diploma of technical college education; iii) a University degree, whether a bachelor's, masters or doctoral. However, the following international students are excluded from the program: i) students having received a scholarship requiring return to the student's country of origin; and b) students having applied for a new acceptance certificate for studies.

The specific requirements applicable to Temporary Workers are the following: (1) the foreign worker (including the holder of a work permit under a youth exchange program pursuant to an international agreement signed between a foreign country and either of Québec or Canada) must have conformed with the conditions of his/her work permit and be legally in Québec at the time of the application; (2) the foreign worker must have employment in Québec at the time of submission of the application which is classified at level A or B pursuant to the National Occupational Classification and must have been so employed for at least 12 months during the 24 months preceding the application.

Application requirements common to both Foreign Students and Temporary Workers are that applicants must: (1) undertake to financially support themselves and their family members for a period of 3 months; and (2) demonstrate their verbal French language skills at an intermediary level.

By introducing PEQ, the province intends to promote and facilitate the immigration process for individuals who are likely to remain and contribute to the economy as a result of already living and working in Québec.

Source: Lexology
Author:Davis LLP