The Quebec provincial government has moved to suspend the changes made to the Quebec Experience Program (PEQ) following outcry from a number of stakeholders.
Immigration Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette announced on Facebook that the November 1 changes would be temporarily suspended to allow for revisions to the lists for in-demand jobs and areas of training.
The move comes after candidates, employers and politicians joined the outcry against the Coalition Avenir Quebec move to significantly reduce the number of people who qualified for the priority immigration program.
“Over the past few days, various economic and education stakeholders have raised questions about the lists of areas of demand training and jobs in deficit,” Jolin-Barrette wrote on Facebook.
“To reassure all these stakeholders, the Government of Quebec announces the temporary suspension of modifications to the Quebec Experience Program (PEQ).
“Lists of in-demand training areas and jobs in the deficit will be revised in collaboration with the relevant actors.”
The decision begs the question as to why the stakeholders mentioned by Jolin-Barrette were not consulted before the changes were announced.
The PEQ is a fast-track route to a Quebec Selection Certificate for international graduates and skilled workers who have spent the required amount of time in the province.
Prior to the Coalition Avenir Quebec’s changes, all degrees made candidates eligible for the PEQ’s international graduate stream. Under the changes, the list was limited to 65 bachelor’s degrees, 24 masters, 7 doctorates as well as 59 college diplomas.
The new rules also saw a list of specific ‘in-demand jobs’ for the temporary foreign worker stream of the PEQ.
Jolin-Barrette had already backtracked to a certain extent by saying those already in the province would not be subject to the changes.
This is not the first time the CAQ has been accused of lacking compassion with their immigration policies.
Earlier in 2019, the provincial government moved to scrap 45,000 existing applications under the Quebec Skilled Worker Program, some dating back as far as 10 years, as it transitioned to an Expression of Interest system.
There was no reprieve for these candidates, who were simply told to reapply through the new Arima portal, although those who were already in Quebec have been given priority in the new system.
Quebec plans to welcome up to 44,500 new immigrants in 2020, an increase from the maximum of 42,000 in 2019.
Quebec’s 2020 Immigration Levels Plan