Reform of the PEQ: the PLQ deplores a “significant drain of talent”

Reform of the PEQ: the PLQ deplores a «significant drain of talent»

Monsef Derraji

While the CAQ government is preparing to backtrack on its reform of the Quebec Experience Program (PEQ) carried out in 2020, the Liberal Party of Quebec (PLQ) regrets that this “botched” revision has contributed to “a significant drain of talent” for three years.

In an article published Wednesday, Radio-Canada reveals that faced with a significant decrease in the number of foreign students wishing to stay in Quebec, the Minister of Immigration, Christine Fréchette, intends to lighten the access criteria in the PEQ, essentially for French-speaking foreign graduates.

The details of this new reform of the PEQ should be announced in the coming days, the article states, and other immigration programs could also be reviewed.

A “very expensive improvisation”

In a press release published on Wednesday, the Liberal spokesperson for immigration, francization and integration, Monsef Derraji, maintained that this setback envisaged by the CAQ government is a “demonstration of its messy side and improvisation. which he has demonstrated since coming to power”.

The QLP also proposes the return to its previous full form of the program in its “Foreign workers” section, where a “worrying drop” of applicants has been observed between 2021 and 2022.

Thousands of foreign students speaking French have been trained here, but have already left Quebec to settle in another province, also maintains Mr. Derraji.

“After three years, force est to see that the PEQ with Jolin-Barrette sauce is a resounding failure. Through its fault, we have been victims of a major flight of French-speaking talent who left Quebec after being trained here. The decline of the CAQ today would certainly be good news, but its ideological choices will already have cost our entrepreneurs and the entire Quebec economy very dearly,” he said.

A “terrible fiasco”, according to the PQ

Asked to find out if the reform of the PEQ carried out in 2020 had been a mistake by the CAQ government, the door- PQ spokesperson on immigration, francization and integration, Pascal Bérubé, replied that the way in which the review had been carried out by the minister at the time, Simon Jolin-Barrette, was an “appalling fiasco”.

“Besides, it’s the result of a battle to have him back down. But the program remains important. We need these students in the colleges, everywhere in Quebec. We must succeed in attracting francophone students, trying to interest them in staying after their studies. So we're on the side of making proposals to make it work,” he said.

“Excellent news”

For his part, the spokesperson for immigration, Guillaume Cliche-Rivard, reminded us that Québec solidaire “has been fighting for the CAQ to back down on the reform of the PEQ for years”.

< p>“It’s great news that the government is finally seeing reason! The PEQ was a fast track for French-speaking immigrants, graduates and temporary workers, with experience of living in Quebec, in French. Reforming it had disastrous consequences: all groups and experts can testify to that!”, he argued in an email to Métro.

Mr. Cliche-Rivard also mentions waiting “impatiently” for the government’s announcement on the details of the new reform to come and says that she hopes to see Minister Fréchette seize the opportunity to restore the component of the PEQ devoted to workers.

< h3 class="wp-block-heading">CAQ reacts

Minister Fréchette's office reacted to this news on Wednesday morning, indicating that international students, particularly those who speak French, are a source of wealth for Quebec and that an announcement regarding the PEQ would be made “in due course. .

“In 2022, more than 93,000 people were licensed under the International Student Program. A figure that has been constantly increasing since 2018. The Minister of Immigration, Francisation and Integration and her teams are currently analyzing certain programs, including the PEQ, in order to promote French-speaking immigration”, it was indicated in a text to Metro.

The 2020 reform< /h3>

Remember that the conditions of access to the PEQ, a popular program for temporary foreign workers or foreign students who have graduated from Quebec, had been tightened by the Minister of Immigration at the time, Simon Jolin-Barrette, in 2020.

In 2020, we added to the access criteria the condition of having completed work experience in a targeted field of 12 to 18 months depending on the initial training . Still according to Radio-Canada, this criterion would be revised downwards in the section reserved for graduates. Quebec would now like to facilitate access to the PEQ, but only for French-speaking students or graduates in a French program.

In three years, the number of foreign students who have submitted an application for permanent selection has decreased by 60%, from 5465 in 2020 to 2268 in 2022.

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