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Quebec Experience Program: Knowledge of French for spouses now required

Published on July 22nd, 2021 at 05:00am EDT

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Starting July 22, 2021, spouses included in applications submitted under the Quebec Experience Program will have to show knowledge of spoken French.

The spouses’ ability to speak French must correspond to a minimum of level 4 on the Quebec Scale of Proficiency in French for Adult Immigrants.

To meet this requirement, spouses will have to complete a declaration of knowledge of French and submit it with one of the following supporting documents:

  • A final transcript attesting the successful completion of at least three years of full-time studies in French at the secondary or post-secondary level;
  • A document from a professional order such as licence to practise, a final transcript attesting of successful completion of at least three years of studies or an attestation of successful completion of the French language exam by the Office québécois de la langue française for professional orders;
  • Attestations of French test results or diplomas such as TEF, TCF, or TEFAQ;
  • Attestation of successful completion of a French course in Quebec in a recognized education institution.

Demonstrating a minimum level of proficiency in spoken French is an essential component of all applications to the Quebec Experience Program (Programme de l’expérience québécoise, or PEQ). Principal applicants must demonstrate a minimum level of 7 on the Quebec Scale of Proficiency in French for Adult Immigrants, which includes both listening and speaking ability.

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Recent PEQ Changes

The PEQ is divided into two streams, one for international graduates and one for temporary foreign workers. Spouses of those applying under the foreign worker stream who had a valid work permit on July 21, 2020 will not be affected by this change in language requirements and as such will not have to demonstrate their knowledge of French, regardless of when they apply.

The Quebec government revamped the PEQ in 2020 and a new version of the program was launched in July of that year. Several new criteria have already come into force, but the language requirement for spouses of applicants to the program was delayed until July 2021.

The PEQ is a popular immigration program that provides a fast track to permanent residence for temporary foreign workers and international students who resided in Quebec.  The program enables Quebec to benefit more quickly from the contribution of people who have mastered French, are already in the province, and are well-integrated into Quebec society. The PEQ allows the issuance of a Certificat de sélection du Québec (CSQ), the first step toward permanent residence in Canada.

A large proportion of immigrants selected under the Quebec skilled worker category fall under the PEQ.

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