Quebec-Selected Skilled Worker (QSW) Program
The Canadian province of Quebec is a top destination for people from around the globe. For example, out of the 257,515 people who were approved for Canadian immigration and issued a Permanent Resident Visa to Canada in 2012, there were 55,258 (21.46% of the total), who decided to move to Quebec. It should be of no surprise that so many individuals, who immigrate to Canada, choose to make Quebec their new home, since this scenic province has a large immigrant population; incredible cities (such as Montreal, Quebec City and Trois-Rivières); a strong economy; unique French-Canadian culture; and a high standard of living.
Key facts about immigration to Quebec
For historical, cultural, political and other reasons, the Canadian province of Quebec has its own special program for immigration to Canada. Thus, if you want to enjoy all that this amazing province has to offer, you must first meet the criteria established by Quebec’s provincial government before you may apply to the Canadian national government for a Permanent Resident Visa to Canada. If this sounds a bit complicated, don’t worry – our legal team can review your details and provide you with an expert evaluation that will inform you as to whether you meet the various criteria (provincial and national) for immigration to Quebec, as well as possible eligibility for other Canadian immigration programs, based upon your personal profile.
The Quebec-Selected Skilled Worker (QSW) Program was created in order to attract qualified skilled foreign workers to immigrate to Canada and use their education, job skills, work experience and other talents to contribute to this province’s economy and society. In order to increase the likelihood that foreign nationals will be a “good fit” for Quebec and have the best opportunity for success, Quebec’s government has established specific criteria that applicants for Canadian immigration must first meet, before they may apply for a Permanent Resident Visa to Canada. If Quebec’s provincial government decides that you match the selection criteria desired for skilled foreign workers in its province and issues you a Quebec Selection Certificate, known in French as a Certificat de sélection du Québec (CSQ), you may then proceed to apply to the national government for Canadian immigration and a Permanent Resident Visa to Canada.
Our legal team can inform you as to whether you meet all of the criteria. If you are eligible, they can also use their expertise to help you through each stage of the application process, making sure everything is done correctly, until you are issued your Permanent Resident Visa to Canada!
Stage One: Selection through the QSW Program
Effective from August 1, 2013, until March 31, 2014, a maximum of 20,000 applications will be accepted for the Quebec Selection Certificate, which is required in order to apply for immigration to Canada through the Quebec-Selected Skilled Worker (QSW) Program
If Quebec’s provincial government issues you a Quebec Selection Certificate, this means that they think that your personal profile matches what they are looking for in terms of your education, work experience, language skills, age and other factors. Once you receive your Quebec Selection Certificate, you may then proceed to the final step of the process for Quebec immigration, which is to apply to the Canadian national government for a Permanent Resident Visa to Canada.
Points-Based Immigration System
Quebec has a points-based immigration system in which points are awarded to applicants based upon the extent to which they meet the desired criteria considered necessary for successful settlement in Quebec. Some of the key criteria considered by Quebec’s provincial government in the selection process for the Quebec-Selected Skilled Worker (QSW) Program include:
Education & Level of Training
To meet the minimum educational requirements for immigration to Canada through the Quebec-Selected Skilled Worker (QSW) Program, you must have at least “a diploma corresponding to a general or vocational high school diploma in Quebec”. The diploma must have been granted during the five-year period prior to filing your application for a Quebec Selection Certificate. If your diploma was awarded more than five years before the date you submitted your Quebec Selection Certificate application, then you must have worked in your occupation a minimum of one year within the past five years, prior to filing your application for a Quebec Selection Certificate. Furthermore, how many points toward immigration you receive for this factor will depend on your “level of training” which will be evaluated by Quebec’s provincial government based upon: (1) whether you earned a doctorate, master’s degree, bachelor’s degree, certificate from a vocational/trade school, high school diploma, etc. AND (2) based upon what you studied and the demand for this knowledge in Quebec.
You must also have the appropriate and legal work experience in your country within the last five years, prior to applying for the Quebec Selection Certificate and it must be in an occupation listed in the National Occupational Classification (NOC) as being a Level A, B or C occupation (i.e., these specific occupations are often in high-demand in Quebec). Thus, the points you may receive toward immigration for your work experience will depend on your occupation and its demand in Quebec. Our legal team can evaluate whether your occupation is among these eligible occupations.
Aside from the issue of how many points you may receive for your work experience, please note that skilled foreign workers, whose occupation is in a regulated profession (e.g., electricians, nurses, physicians, engineers, etc.), may need to check with the appropriate regulatory body and/or professional organization in Quebec regarding the requirements for practicing their profession. You may also need to receive an assessment regarding your educational credentials and other professional qualifications, known as a Comparative Evaluation for Studies Done Outside Quebec (referred to in French as the Évaluation comparative des études effectuées hors du Québec) to help you secure a job in your occupation if you immigrate to Quebec (a fee is charged for this expert evaluation).
More points may be awarded for applicants whose age is within a range considered optimal by Quebec’s government in terms of how many years a skilled foreign worker will be able to be employed and contribute to the economy of Quebec after being issued a Permanent Resident Visa to Canada.
Although French and English are the two official languages of Canada, French is the predominant language used throughout the province of Quebec due to historical, cultural and other factors. Therefore, foreign nationals who apply for Canadian immigration through the QSW Program will need to be evaluated as having French language skills that are at the advanced intermediate level or above (as of August 1, 2013) as measured by an officially recognized language assessment, such as the Test d’Evaluation de Français (TEF). Points for the language factor may also be received for adequate English language abilities as measured by the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam. A fee is charged for the TEF and IELTS exams.
Connection to Quebec
If you have a family relationship with a Quebec permanent resident or a Canadian citizen, or you have previously spent time in Quebec (for example, as an international student), you may be able to receive points for your “connection” to Quebec.
You must be able to support yourself and all eligible family members who accompany you to Quebec for three months after your arrival in Quebec and you will also need to sign a contract stating that you will do so.
Qualifying Offer of Arranged Employment in Quebec
Points may be awarded towards Quebec immigration if you have a qualifying offer of arranged employment in Quebec (i.e., a business located in Quebec has offered you a job).
You may receive points for “adaptability” based upon the preparations you have made for advancing your “socioeconomic integration” if approved for Canadian immigration and relocation to the province of Quebec (i.e., your specific plan for successfully settling in Quebec, finding suitable employment, etc.).
The government of Quebec may award additional points toward immigration if your eligible spouse/partner meets certain criteria (e.g., their education, work experience, etc.) for Quebec immigration.
Children Under 22-Years-Old
Another factor that may be considered by Quebec’s government is how many children less than 22-years-old will be accompanying you to Quebec if you are approved for Canadian immigration through the QSW Program.
There are various fees that must be paid as part of the application process for the QSW Program, such as for the QSW Program application, having your French and/or English language abilities evaluated, receiving an assessment of your credentials, etc. In addition to fees, charged as part of the application procedure for the QSW Program, there will be additional fees associated with submitting your application to the Canadian national government for a Permanent Resident (PR) Visa to Canada, such as for the PR Visa application, medical exam(s) and police certificate(s).
There may be other requirements for the QSW Program, plus the government may change the criteria at any time. Our legal team, however, will evaluate our clients according to the latest Quebec immigration criteria and most recent Canadian immigration law.
If Quebec’s government decides that you meet the criteria it is looking for through its QSW Program, it may then issue you the Quebec Selection Certificate, which will then allow you to take the second major step toward immigration to Quebec, which is to apply to the Canadian national government for a Permanent Resident Visa to Canada.
Stage Two: Applying for a Permanent Resident Visa to Canada
Even if you have been issued the Quebec Selection Certificate by the provincial government of Quebec, stating that they have chosen you and your eligible family members for immigration to Quebec, only the Canadian national government can approve you and your eligible family members for Canadian immigration by granting you a Permanent Resident Visa to Canada. Therefore, after receiving your Quebec Selection Certificate, you must next submit your application for a Permanent Resident Visa to Canada to the Canadian national government for final processing and approval. You and the family members who will accompany you to Quebec will need to pass all of the criteria for immigration to Canada, required by the Canadian national government, such as the medical and character requirements, plus pay the appropriate fees.
To simplify the Canadian immigration process for you and your eligible family members and make sure everything is done accurately and submitted correctly, our legal team can provide you with personalized professional assistance through each stage of the process, until you are issued your Permanent Resident Visa to Canada and authorized to start your new life in beautiful Quebec.