MONTREAL -- Changes to the popular Quebec Experience Program could make it more difficult to apply, according to a group who gathered in protest on Saturday.

The program is meant for skilled foreign workers who have or will graduate from a Quebec school, as well as temorary foreign workers and is a step towards attaining permanent residency in the province.

The group said the changes limit the kinds of jobs people can do and make the conditions for patricipating more stringent. Many of the protesters said they work as clerks or receptionists, positions that were eliminated in the changes introduced by the Quebec government last month.

Another change is that starting next year, people who arrive in the province as the spouse of an immigrant will have to demonstrate basic knowledge of French. Previously, the program had no French requirement for spouses.

The government has said their goal is to better respond to labour needs in Quebec's regions and to find workers who want to settle in those areas long-term.