Quebec Immigration: Quebec Experience Program (PEQ)

Last updated: 30 November 2021

Peq

If you have studied or worked in Quebec and would like to settle in the province permanently, you may be eligible for immigration under the Quebec Experience Program (PEQ). This is a fast-track Canadian immigration program that aims to process applications within six months. 

This complete CanadaVisa page provides an overview of everything you need to know about this immigration program.

Complete a free assessment to see if you qualify for the PEQ


Table of Contents


Overview

The Quebec Experience Program (Programme de l’expérience québécoise, or PEQ) provides a fast-track way for foreign graduates and individuals with work experience in Quebec to obtain a Quebec selection certificate — a mandatory step towards permanent residency that is granted by the federal government. Unlike other Canadian provinces, Quebec's case is unique because of the Quebec-Canada Agreement, in effect since April 1991, which gives Quebec the authority to select its economic immigrants in the skilled worker category.

When the Ministère de l'Immigration, de la Francisation et de l'Intégration (MIFI) created the PEQ, its goal was to ensure that Quebec society could benefit from the contribution of people who had already been here for some time, who knew and shared Quebec's values, and who were already well integrated. By making it easier for employers to hire young graduates of Quebec educational institutions and foreigners already in Quebec, the government seeks both to meet its immigration objectives and to improve Quebec's difficult demographic situation.

From its launch year in 2010 through 2019, the program has issued more than 70,000 selection certificates to temporary residents. Due to the popularity of the program, which has resulted in 86 percent of Quebec selection certificates being issued to PEQ applicants, the Quebec government redesigned it in fall 2019. The purpose of the overhaul was to improve the distribution of applicants across immigration programs and to make the PEQ more responsive to labor market needs.

The PEQ is an ideal immigration option for individuals who are fluent in French and have legally acquired work experience in Quebec. The other major advantage of this program is that applications are processed within six months, which is significantly faster than other programs, such as the Quebec Skilled Worker Program (QSWP).


How does the immigration process work with the PEQ?

Depending on your situation, you can apply for one of the two streams of the Quebec Experience Program (PEQ):

  • Temporary Foreign Workers
  • Québec Graduates

As of January 2021, PEQ candidates must submit their application, pay the required fee, and upload the required documents via the Arrima portal. Paper applications are no longer accepted. However, those who mailed in their application before January 26, 2021 will not be able to use Arrima to track their file or make changes to their application.

Here are the steps to follow to submit an application to the PEQ:

Step 1: Choose one of the two permanent selection application forms and fill out the one that fits your situation. 

Step 2: Prepare the supporting documents as listed in the application form. 

Step 3: Create your profile on the Arrima platform.

Step 4: Submit your complete application package for permanent selection through Arrima.

Step 5: Pay the fees for the processing of your application. 

The Ministère de l'Immigration du Québec will process complete applications within six months. This period begins upon receipt of the complete application, fees and supporting documents.


Transitional measures related to changes in regulations introduced in 2020

New eligibility requirements went into effect on July 22, 2020. The following transitional measures may apply to you and allow you to apply under the selection requirements in effect before July 22, 2020, if:

  • You obtained a degree eligible for the Quebec Experience Program (QEP) before December 31, 2020;
  • You were in Quebec on July 21, 2020 as a temporary foreign worker with a valid work permit or were authorized to work under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations;
  • If you had successfully completed, were in the process of completing, or were already enrolled in an Advanced Intermediate course on July 21, 2020, you may submit a certificate of completion of that course as proof of your French language proficiency. This transitional measure also applies to your common-law spouse or spouse included in your application;
  • Common-law spouse or spouse included in your applications from individuals who fall under one of the two groups of people listed above will not be required to demonstrate French language proficiency.

All applications submitted before the effective date of the new regulations will be processed according to the selection conditions in effect before July 22, 2020.


Eligibility Criteria for Temporary Foreign Workers

Temporary Foreign Workers in Quebec may be eligible to apply for a CSQ under the PEQ if they:

  • show an intention to settle in Quebec to hold a job;
  • have stayed temporarily in Quebec for the purposes of work;
  • have had full-time work experience in Quebec for at least 24 months of the 36 months preceding the submission of an application in a 0, A or B level job;
  • have legal status in Quebec as a temporary worker or as part of a youth exchange program, such as International Experience Canada (IEC) (Working Holiday, Young Professionals or International Co-op Internship).
  • are employed at the time of the application.

Language requirements

  • prove French ability by way of a standardized language test recognized by the Government of Quebec; or
  • show a final transcript attesting to the successful completion of at least three years of full-time secondary or post-secondary study completed entirely in French (including the master’s and doctoral theses, if applicable); or
  • show that they have satisfied the French language requirements of the professional order governing their occupation in Quebec.
  • Spouses of principal applicants under the PEQ need to demonstrate spoken knowledge of French.

Full-time work experience for the PEQ

The MIFI considers a minimum of 30 hours of paid work per week as full-time employment. Full-time work experience acquired as an international student while on a Post-Graduation Work Permit or under a Youth Exchange/International Experience Canada (IEC) Program may be taken into account if the applicant meets all PEQ requirements. MIFI will not consider any period of part-time work, self-employment, or entrepreneurial work under the PEQ.


Eligibility Criteria for Quebec Graduates

Foreign students who have studied in Quebec may be eligible to apply for a CSQ under the PEQ if they:

  • show an intention to settle in Quebec to hold a job;
  • have stayed temporarily in Quebec for the purposes of study;
  • have obtained an eligible degree or diploma from an educational institution recognized by the Quebec Ministry of Education within the past 36 months;
  • have studied in Quebec for at least 1,800 hours (two years)
  • hold a Masters, Bachelors or DEC diploma and have 12 months of work experience in a 0, A, B level job and to hold such a job at the time of application
  • hold a DEP and have 18 months of work experience in a 0, A, B or C level job and required to hold such a job at the time of application. Please note that C level work must be related to the degree.

NOTE: Work experience acquired during mandatory internships will be taken into account up to a maximum of 3 months.

Language requirements

  • show a final transcript attesting to the successful completion of at least three years of full-time secondary or post-secondary study completed entirely in French (including the master’s and doctoral theses, if applicable); or
  • a final transcript attesting to the successful completion of a study program in Québec completed entirely in French (including the master’s and doctoral theses, if applicable); or
  • prove French ability by way of a standardized language test recognized by the Government of Quebec; or
  • show that they have satisfied the French language requirements of the professional order governing their occupation in Quebec.
  • Spouses of principal applicants under the PEQ need to demonstrate spoken knowledge of French.

The Government of Quebec will not issue a CSQ until the applicant submits a complete transcript and an attestation of successful completion of diploma.


Frequently Asked Questions

The Programme de l'expérience québécoise (Quebec Experience Program, or PEQ) is a Canadian immigration program prioritizing applicants who have studied or are working in Quebec.

No. These are two separate immigration programs for applying for a Certificat de sélection du Québec (Certificate of Selection for Quebec - CSQ). Once an applicant obtains a CSQ, he or she can submit an application to the federal government for Canadian permanent residence.

No, there is no requirement to meet a minimum point score in order for an individual to be eligible for the PEQ.

Applicants can apply to the PEQ on the basis of their experience in Quebec, either as a graduate with an eligible diploma, or as a foreign worker. All applicants must prove advanced intermediate ability in oral French (speaking and listening).

The Diplomé du Québec (Quebec Graduate) category is for applicants who have obtained an eligible diploma from a recognized educational institution in Quebec.

The Travailleur étranger temporaire (Temporary Foreign Worker) category is for applicants working in Quebec who have at least 12 months skilled work experience in Quebec in the last 24 months.

Applicants in the graduate category can only submit an application once they obtain their diploma. Applications must be submitted within 36 months of graduating. Applicants in the foreign worker category can submit an application as soon as all the eligibility criteria are met and as long as the applicant is currently employed in a full-time skilled job in Quebec.

Applications must be submitted online via the Arrima portal. It is no longer possible to submit an application by mail.

Quebec's Ministry of Immigration states that PEQ applications will be processed within 6 months. This estimation is applicable to complete applications when the applicant does not require any further documents to support the application or an audit interview. Applications deemed incomplete will be returned to the applicant.

The MIFI says PEQ applicants may be subject to an audit interview.

Yes, an accompanying spouse or common-law partner can be included on the application.

Yes, proof of language proficiency is required for the principal applicant as well as accompanying spouse.

Yes, all children must be declared on the application form, whether they are accompanying the principal applicant on the application or not. Children aged 19 and under can be included in the application. However, only children born outside of Canada are included in the application for a CSQ, as children born in Canada are already citizens.

All children must be declared on the application form. However, if an applicant has a child born in Canada, the child is already a Canadian citizen. In this case the child is not declared as accompanying the applicant on the application for a CSQ, as the child does not need a CSQ. Government processing fees are not required for Canadian-born children.

Yes. Government processing fees can be reviewed in the table below. Full payment must be supplied with the application or the application will be deemed incomplete.

ApplicantFees
Principal ApplicantCAD $822
Spouse, de facto spouseCAD $176
Each dependant childCAD $176

The checklist of required documents is included in the required application form. The form is only available in French, but documents can be submitted in English or in French. An official translation must be provided for any document that is not in English or French. All required documents and forms must be submitted to the MIFI in the correct format, along with payment, in one single application. Incomplete applications are returned to the applicant.

Diplomas eligible for the Programme de l’expérience québécoise (PEQ – Québec experience program) are:

  • Bachelor’s degree (university undergraduate)
  • Master’s degree (including an MBA)
  • Ph.D.
  • Diploma of college studies, technical training (DCS)
  • Diploma of vocational studies (DVS) attesting to 1,800 hours or more of study
  • Diploma of vocational studies (DVS) followed by an Attestation of vocational specialization (AVS) of 1,800 hours or more of continuing education leading to a given trade

The foreign worker applicant must have at least least 24 of the 36 months of full-time work experience prior to submitting an application. Full-time work is defined as at least 30 hours a week. Part-time work experience is not recognized in the PEQ application. Work experience that is not continuous can be considered in your application if it was full time.

Yes. Potential applicants who do not meet the eligibility criteria for the PEQ, but who have experience working or studying in Quebec, may also be eligible to apply for a CSQ through the Quebec Skilled Worker Program.

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