Thousands of Quebec’s Foreign Students Now in Limbo
On November 5, 2019, students from all over the globe came to the National Assembly to tell the Coalition Avenir Québec government to let them stay. The government recently decided to apply stricter regulations to a program that fast tracks the immigration of individuals who recently graduated from post-secondary schools in Québec and who have stayed there on work permits. Those living in Québec under the promise of the Québec Experience Program (PEQ) now do not know what the future holds for them, their education or their careers.
One of these individuals happens to be Jin Xing. The 36-year-old from China came to Québec intending to study commercial drafting. Under the old rules, she assumed she would be allowed to stay here under PEQ. She was learning French and recently became a homeowner in Châteauguay with her husband.
That all changed for Xing and many others on November 1st when the stricter rules were implemented. At a news conference with several other international students, individuals with temporary work permits, and politicians who oppose their stance, Xing pleaded through her tears that the government had broken its promise canceling their contract.
Initially, any foreign student who earned a degree in Québec and workers on temporary work permits who had been there for more than a year were eligible for the Québec Experience Program. Intending to clear backlogged applicants, the CAQ government suspended the program in June. The changes that went into effect on November 1st cut some programs and reduce the specialties for qualified applicants.
For example, the program cut master’s and Ph.D. graduates in computer science, making it more challenging for the AI industry to fill positions. Numerous students and workers came to Québec and invested in Québec with the promise of education and jobs. Now they could be left with nothing, although some are seeking help from lawyers.
An Uncertain Future for PEQ
Part of the issue that many have with the changes to the PEQ is they were done without debate or much warning. The government states that they now want to focus on people who work in or are pursuing degrees in nursing, IT, engineering, or business.
Quebec Premier François Legault’s goal is to reduce immigration by 43,000 this year, up from 40,000 last year. More than half will be economic immigrants. While Legault says he would love to help millions of all types of immigrants, his country must focus on improving the labour market.
Reach Out to an Experienced Immigration Lawyer in Mississauga
An immigration Mississauga lawyer may be able to help you if you were impacted by the recent PEQ changes or are facing another immigration issue. We know how tumultuous and uncertain this time can be, and we will do all we can to assist you in staying here and pursuing your career or education.
You can schedule your immigration consultation today at Nanda & Associate Lawyers by calling (905)-405-0199, or you can use our online contact form, We help clients of all nationalities and backgrounds, offering services in 15 different languages including English, French, Hindi, Punjabi, Gujarati, Bangla, Chinese, Italian, Telugu, and Tamil.