Significant Immigration Policy Overhaul in Quebec: Pilot Programs, Language Requirements, & More

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  • November 25, 2023

Quebec’s immigration landscape is undergoing a transformation with the enforcement of a new by-law that amends the province’s immigration regulations, effective from November 23, 2023. These changes encompass a range of measures and policy adjustments that influence multiple immigration streams in Quebec. Delve into the following information to gain insights into these updates and understand how they might affect you.


New Economic Pilot Streams Unveiled:

To address critical labor shortages, Quebec has recently reopened three long-term economic immigration pilot programs. These programs, running from November 23rd, 2023, to December 31st, 2024, include:

  • Permanent immigration pilot program for workers in food processing (with a 600-application cap)
  • Permanent immigration pilot program for orderlies (with a 600-application cap)
  • Permanent immigration pilot program for workers in the artificial intelligence, information technologies, and visual effects sectors (with a 700-application cap)

While these programs have periodic openings and closures for application submissions, all three are expected to conclude indefinitely on January 1st, 2026.


Economic Programs:

Significant changes are also taking place in Quebec’s economic immigration programs. Proficiency in French is now a mandatory requirement for eligibility in all of Quebec’s economic immigration programs.

The Quebec Regular Skilled Worker Program (QSWP) and the Quebec Experience Program (PEQ) will now necessitate a language proficiency level of at least 7 in spoken French, according to the Quebec scale of French Proficiency levels. This level 7 proficiency requirement applies universally to skilled workers immigrating to Quebec, covering various economic and pilot programs.

The PEQ’s graduate component, effective November 23rd, now mandates that applicants have completed a program in French or at least three years of secondary or post-secondary study in French.

Spouses being sponsored under these economic programs must have a knowledge of oral French (talking and listening) equivalent to a level 4 proficiency.

Lastly, effective November 29th the Quebec Regular Skilled Worker Program (QSWP) will be replaced by the Qualified Skilled Worker Selection Program (QWSP).


Family Sponsorship Changes:

Starting from November 23rd, sponsors for family-sponsored immigration to Quebec, for individuals aged 18-55, are required to complete and sign a welcome and integration plan. This plan ensures that sponsored individuals receive support in preparing for their arrival in Quebec, accessing public services, facilitating their integration, and learning French.


Other Changes:

Beyond the aforementioned changes, Quebec is instituting modifications to its business immigration streams effective January 1st, 2024. These changes, affecting the Investor Program, Self-Employed Program, and Entrepreneur Program, make French proficiency mandatory. Additional adjustments include increased residence requirements, a work permit necessity, and more.

Quebec holds a unique position among Canadian provinces in its control over immigration, allowing it to shape policies, programs, and welcome immigrants with less federal oversight. The province’s recent immigration plan aligns with Canada’s national immigration levels plan, aiming to welcome a minimum of 49,500 immigrants this year, with another 50,000 newcomers planned for both 2024 and 2025. The emphasis on economic immigration measures, particularly targeting foreign skilled workers, reflects Quebec’s commitment to shaping its demographic landscape. Additionally, Quebec plays a pivotal role in advocating for Francophone immigration throughout Canada, a category that is gaining increasing popularity.

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