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Public Outcry Forces Quebec Government to Suspend Recent Changes Planned for PEQ

The Quebec government ended a confusing week of policy changes on Friday, November 8th by announcing the suspension to all reforms planned for the popular Quebec Experience Program (PEQ), introduced October 31st and November 6th. The decision to suspend proposed changes is a response to outcry from public and educational actors immediately following both announcements. 

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The week began with declarations from the Quebec Ministry of Immigration that as of November 1st, international students would again be able to apply for Canadian permanent residence through the popular Quebec Experience Program, which offers accelerated processing for those with educational or work experience in the province. However, the new reforms drastically reduced the number of those eligible to apply, cutting about 300 fields of study from eligibility and leaving many students already in the province without options for moving forward. 

The October 31st announcements received immediate backlash from students and stakeholders. Only a few days following the first announcement, the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) government softened the reforms by introducing a grandfather clause that would be applied to those already in Quebec under the PEQ, allowing those affected to maintain their eligibility even if they would not be selected under new criteria. 

Finally, following even further outcry, Quebec’s Minister of Immigration announced on the evening of Friday, November 8th that all planned changes would be temporarily suspended until further collaboration with economic and educational actors was complete. While the backtracking on planned changes has been met with satisfaction from many students and educational institutions in Quebec, many are calling for the file to be taken from current Quebec Immgiration Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette for this week’s series of missteps. 

The suspension of reforms is effective immediately, yet there is no word on when discussions on how best to execute PEQ changes will take place or with whom. It is not certain whether all previous eligibility criteria remains in place. 

Fortunately, for those interested in gaining educational or work experience in Canada, you still have options! The Canadian Experience Class of the Federal Express Entry system prioritizes those with previous experience in the country. The fast and efficient processing times offered through Express Entry mean international students can quickly get on the path to permanent residence status in Canada upon graduation.

If you’d like to learn more about bringing your studies to Canada, the first step is finding out if you’re eligible! Complete our free online assessment to get started.

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