While Quebec’s annual campaign to attract economic immigrants to the province started on April 1, 2015, the program component offering permanent residency to skilled workers even without job offers is scheduled to start November 4, 2015.

The widely anticipated Québec Skilled Worker Program (QSWP) starts the mailed-in applications phase on November 4 until December 31, 2015.  The second part (online applications) commences from January 18 to March 31, 2016.

A total of 6,300 applications for permanent residency for skilled workers will be accepted during the covered period.  The previous years application cycle reached the target 6,500 applications in four months.

Why apply to the Quebec Skilled Worker Program?

The federal migration selection system – Express Entry – may be easier to get into, but without a job offer or provincial nomination, only those already in Canada as temporary workers or international students get first crack to be issued invitations to apply for residency.

The Québec Skilled Worker Program (QSWP) on the other hand offers the following advantages:

  1. No job offer required.
  2. Knowledge of or proficiency in French is not a requirement. A candidate may submit evidence of language proficiency in either English or French.
  3. Applications are considered individually instead of being merged into a pool of candidates.
  4. No invitations to apply needed, however,
  5. First come, first serve policy requires a properly accomplished application form and complete documentation.
  6. New Areas of Training expands opportunities for more candidates.
  7. Removal of the threshold is expected to reduce wait or processing times.
  8. More choices: applicants may apply for Express Entry and QSWP.

Program changes expand opportunities.

Québec has fine-tuned the criteria for QSWP over the past months with an eye towards getting more applicants to qualify.   The changes include the release of a new Area of Training list. In addition, in August, 2015, the government of Québec lowered the pass mark required to obtain a Québec Selection Certificate/certificat de selection du Québec (CSQ). At the same time, the  ‘adaptability’ factor from the points-based program has been removed.

These changes, therefore, now allow previously ineligible candidates to submit an application.

Hare and Tortoise Phases.

Since the online application system would be in place only early January 2016, and eager to get the most number of qualified skilled workers soonest, the Québec government will start the first phase of the selection process by accepting mailed in applications on November 4, 2015.  This procedure may be slower but as in the Hare and Tortoise Race fable, getting started early should even the race odds.

The initial application cycle gives applicants the opportunity to submit applications instead of waiting for the online system to be in place.  Further, the details of how the new online system operates remain unclear.

The QSWP Selection Factors.

Like the federal selection scheme, QSWP uses a points-based system, awarding points for an applicant’s area of training, work experience, age, language proficiency, prior relationship with Québec  (through visits or family), the human capital factors of the applicant’s spouse or common-law partner (if applicable), and whether or not the applicant has a validated job offer in Québec.

A minimum threshold is set but an applicant may get additional points for any accompanying dependent children and proof of financial self-sufficiency. An important point to remember is that candidates do not need a job offer to qualify for the QSWP.

The selection factors and maximum points for each are:

Single or Double.

A single applicant needs a minimum of 49 points, while an applicant with a spouse or common-law partner must score at least 57 points. Once a Quebec Selection Certificate or CSQ has been issued, applicants must then successfully complete medical and security examinations conducted by the federal government to be granted permanent resident status. Potential applicants to the QSWP must establish their intention to reside within the province of Quebec.

Pursuing a federal and Quebec application simultaneously.

Unlike the Express Entry selection system for federal economic immigration programs, the QSWP allows candidates to apply directly without waiting for an invitation to apply for permanent residency. 

However, QSWP is on a first-come, first-served basis and candidates must ensure that their applications are properly documented and applications comply with the requirements to meet the criteria when submitted.

It should be noted that both governments of Québec  and Canada explain that candidates can apply under the QSWP and submit an Express Entry profile, as long as they withdraw one when either a CSQ or Invitation to Apply (ITA) is issued.

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About the Author

Jennifer Aranda

Jennifer Aranda

Jennifer S. Aranda is the COO of IVC Immigrant Visa Center, Inc.


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