Advanced intermediate level of oral and written French will now be required.

“We want people who choose Quebec to be able not only to live and work in French, but also to find a job more easily,” De Courcy added.

Seventy-six per cent of people who immigrated to Quebec in 2012 as skilled workers could already speak French when they arrived.

However, mastery of French is lower among other categories of immigrants, like investors, of whom nine out of 10 do not speak Quebec’s official language.

The new rules mean prospective newcomers in the skilled-worker category won’t even be considered unless they can demonstrate a higher level of competence in French than in the past, when applicants could get points for speaking French at a beginner’s level.

Now, the minimum level of oral and written French for people to be considered is advanced intermediate.