Programme de l’expérience québécoise (PEQ)

ÉTS add its voice to BCI: Do better for international students

Monday, June 22, 2020

ÉTS is adding its voice to other universities, under the umbrella of the Bureau de coordination interuniversitaire (BCI), which has made its position known with respect to the new version of the draft regulation governing the Programme de l’expérience québécoise (PEQ – Québec Experience Program) that was released by Québec’s Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration (MIFI) on May 28, 2020.

ÉTS acknowledges that some of the recommendations from the higher education sector have been retained, and have led to further reflection since the November 2019 version of the PEQ, including the decision to prioritize a selection system based on skill level and Québec work experience rather than the list of programs. It is worth noting that the PhD program and many of the Master programs at ÉTS do not appear on the list of eligible programs under the older version of the PEQ.

Among the recommendations and proposed avenues for improvement highlighted by BCI, ÉTS is strongly in support of those that call for a grandfather clause, the recognition of work experience and paid internships and the preservation of accelerated processing times.

Grandfather clause

In order to preserve the bond of trust forged with students who have chosen to study in Québec, and to fulfil the promise made by the MIFI last November, it is essential that all current students, along with those who will be beginning their studies in the fall of 2020, are covered by a grandfather clause that gives them access to the current version of the PEQ, because this clause was removed from the new version of the PEQ.

Recognition of work experience and paid internships

In effect, the new version of the regulation requires significant work experience of between 12 and 24 months, depending on the program. The adoption of a measure of flexibility allowing for recognition of part-time work experience acquired during studies and paid internships for up to 36 months before submission of the application would enhance the attractiveness of the PEQ. ÉTS agrees with this approach, because it is the institution of higher education that offers the largest number of engineering internships in Québec. Internships form an integral part of its Bachelor-level programs. They are mandatory, paid and carried out within companies.

Preservation of accelerated processing

The attractiveness of the PEQ, and its basic character, are tied to its accelerated formula, which allows for the collective retention of talent in Québec. Extending processing times for a CSQ up to 6 months will decrease Québec’s competitiveness, because other programs offered in Canada prioritize access to permanent residence in less than 6 months. According to the current PEQ proposal, the wait time will extend beyond 30 months for a graduate from Québec. It would be more reasonable to return to a 20-day processing time for applications, as was the case in the past.

Adopting terms and conditions that are user-friendly, facilitating and welcoming to international students who choose Québec as the place to study, work and live will help to build a strong economic foundation for the future of Québec. The influx of international students to Québec represents an incalculably precious and needed resource for industries, companies and society as a whole.

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