April 19, 2017 – Foreign students applying for Quebec immigration are facing spot-checks on their French language ability despite passing government-approved courses.More than 320 candidates have had their immigration applications refused after being called for interviews.
Applicants are accusing the Quebec government of changing the rules after they spent thousands of dollars on specially-designed courses.
The Quebec Experience Program (PEQ) was hailed as a fast-track route to Canada immigration when it was introduced in 2009.
Under the program, foreign students took the a French course to qualify for a Quebec selection certificate, but are now finding their applications are being turned down. Rejected applicants can face a five year wait before being able to apply again.
Hundreds of Quebec immigration candidates made life-changing decisions to move based on the rules of the program.
The PEQ tests are administered by the Lester B. Pearson School Board or the English Montreal School Board (EMSB).
Despite passing the government-approved PEQ tests, many are failing the spot checks performed by Ministry of Immigration, Diversity and Inclusiveness (MIDI).
An EMSB statement suggested the issue might centre on applicants being able to pass the course through strong written, reading and comprehensive, when the MIDI test focuses on oral skills.
Several of the candidates in question are now taking or considering legal action.
A MIDI statement said ways had been identified that were being used to get around the central aim of the tests.
Quebec anti-corruption investigators are looking into the matter, the statement said, and as such further details are currently not available.
Quebec introduced the PEQ to encourage foreign workers and international students completing a program of post secondary studies to permanently remain in the province.
Québec Experience Program for Students
For students to be eligible, they must have studied in Quebec and are at the advanced stages of obtaining one of the following types of diplomas:
- Diplôme d’Études Professionelles (DEP – Diploma of Vocational Studies) involving 1,800 hours of study;
- DEP and an Attestation de spécialisation professionnelle (AVS – Attestation of Vocational Specialization) totaling 1,800 hours;
- Diplôme d’Études Collégiales, formation technique (DEC – Diploma of College Studies, technical training);
- Bachelor’s degree;
- Master’s degree; or
The diploma or degree must be granted by a university or by a public education institution located in Quebec and recognized by the government.
In addition, the international student must possess an intermediate knowledge of oral French. The student can prove his knowledge of French by one of the following:
- Completed one of the above programs in French;
- Studied in French on a full-time basis for at least two years in a secondary or post-secondary educational institution;
- Completed an intermediate-level French course given in Quebec;
- Passed a recognized standardized French test such as (Test d’Evaluation Français) (TEF); or
- Satisfied the language requirements of a professional order in Quebec.
Students may submit their application for permanent residence from within Québec six months before completing their program of study.
The CSQ issued to the student upon confirmation of successful completion of an approved program of study.
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