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Quebec Government announces restrictions to PEQ for international students

Read a message from Interim President Graham Carr
November 5, 2019
By Graham Carr


Dear members of the Concordia community,

We learned November 4 that the Government of Quebec has made modifications to the Programme de l’expérience québécoise (PEQ – Québec Experience Program) that would severely restrict eligibility going forward. These changes were made without consultation with the higher education sector or other stakeholders who will be affected by the policy.

As a reminder, the PEQ provides a “fast track” that allows international students to apply for permanent residency in Canada by showing that they had completed a degree from an institution in Quebec and met French language requirements. The suspension of the PEQ program does not affect the Post-Graduate Work Permit program, under which any international graduate student is eligible to apply for a work permit of up to three years post-graduation provided they have earned a degree that is two years or longer in duration. 

We are gravely concerned by this announcement, for a number of reasons:

  • International students are a vital part of the Concordia community. They bring a wealth of cultural diversity, experience and knowledge, and raise the global outlook and profile of Montreal and Quebec.
  • Close to 60 per cent of Concordia’s international students stay in Quebec after they graduate, contributing greatly to innovation and economic wellbeing, and the university continues to increase its investments in language-training and other programs designed to facilitate adaptation to Quebec society.
  • It is not clear why the government has chosen to protect some areas of study over others given that there is a serious skilled labour shortage across the province, that society benefits from the retention of talented individuals regardless of their program of formation, and that it is extremely difficult to accurately predict which new skills will be required for jobs of the future in Quebec.
  • It is unfair that approximately 1,100 of our current students who chose to study in Quebec are suddenly affected by this abrupt change in policy.
  • We are equally concerned that the new policy will negatively affect future international recruitment, which is especially unfortunate at a time when Quebec and Canada are particularly attractive destinations for international students given other factors of global instability.

Through the Bureau de coopération interuniversitaire (BCI), all university presidents publicly opposed this decision in a press release issued November 4, 2019. Collectively and individually, we are actively communicating with the Quebec Government to ask it to lift these restrictions.

We will continue to provide you with updates as the situation unfolds.

If you have any questions, please send an email to the International Student Office at

Thank you in advance for your cooperation,

Graham Carr
Interim President and Vice-Chancellor

NOV. 6 UPDATE: Changes to PEQ for international students

Since we communicated our opposition to the Government of Quebec’s new eligibility restrictions to the Programme de l’expérience québécoise (PEQ – Québec Experience Program) yesterday, there has been a development.

This morning, November 6, the Government announced that international students who are already studying at Quebec universities and/or had applied to the PEQ program prior to November 1, 2019, are exempt from the new restrictions that took effect that day.

Clearly, this is a situation that is still evolving. The university continues to be in communication with the Government of Quebec and will share any future updates with you as soon as possible.

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