Quebec announced revisions to the reform of the Programme de l’expérience Québécoise (PEQ) on Thursday.
The program allows international students and temporary foreign workers established in the province to obtain a certificate of selection from Quebec, with a view to obtaining permanent residence.
According to the government, the adjustments announced Thursday by the newly appointed Minister of Immigration, Nadine Girault, will allow students already in Quebec who obtain a diploma by December 31, 2020, to apply for PEQ.
They will be able to submit their application under the conditions that existed prior to the reforms proposed by the previous minister, Simon Jolin-Barette.
Other changes announced Thursday include setting the work experience required for temporary workers at 24 months. The government believes this will help Quebec companies retain foreign workers long enough to renew their permits.
Students will now be able to consider experience of up to three months gained during an internship as part of their work experience.
Student associations that opposed the reform say the government is going about the changes the wrong way.
They say the reform remains insulting to immigrants who wish to invest their skills in an inclusive Quebec, they argued in a press release.
They deplore the fact that people who have not obtained their diploma by the end of the year will not be entitled to the PEQ.
“These people will see their life plans be considerably affected by this half measure,” the press release said.
The Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses says it believes the changes will help many companies but “we remain concerned about the withdrawal of access to the program for temporary foreign workers or those who are not qualified.”
The Federation of Quebec Chambers of Commerce said it was pleased with the changes, while the Conseil du Patronat (CPQ) says it is a step in the right direction.
The CPQ believes, however, that work must continue so that the immigration system can meet the needs of Quebec employers.