Quebec Skilled Worker Immigration

Like its federal counterpart, the Quebec Skilled Worker program is an immigration program that does not require a valid job offer from a Canadian or Quebec employer. The program selects candidates for permanent residence who are likely to become economically established and who have the intention of residing in Quebec.

Quebec is Canada’s only francophone province. The Quebec Skilled Worker program has specific qualifying criteria based on Quebec’s cultural uniqueness. An applicant can include their spouse, common-law partner, and any dependent children on their application as well. In fact, under the Quebec Skilled Worker program, additional points are awarded to applicants with families, especially those with young children.

Unlike the Federal Skilled Worker program, the Quebec Skilled Worker program has no list of eligible occupations. If the criteria set out by Immigration Quebec is met, individuals will qualify for the program regardless of their occupation or field of expertise.

The Quebec Skilled Worker program is different from other Canadian immigration programs in that it involves two steps. First, the applicant must apply to Immigration Quebec to obtain their Immigration Quebec Selection Certificate (CSQ).  After the CSQ is obtained, applicants then apply to the Federal government to get their permanent resident visa.

To qualify for the Quebec Skilled Worker program, applicants must earn a set number of points, with points being awarded for education, work experience, age, language proficiency, and other factors.  

New Streamlined Application Process – August 2018

The first-come, first-served application process for the Quebec Skilled Worker Program has been replaced with a new ‘Expression of Interest’ application system, where applicants may submit an online profile at any time to be considered for immigration to Quebec. Prior to August 2, 2018, only a certain number of skilled worker applications were accepted at a given time, within limited intake periods. Submissions were first-come, first-serve, and processing time for candidates was often as long as 36 months.

Replacing this application process is the ‘Expression of Interest’ system, where candidates 18 years of age and older may submit an online profile at any time. There is no limit to the number of applicants that may “express their interest” at once. Similar to Express Entry, this new system pools candidates and ranks them based on a variety of factors, to help determine their suitability to immigrate. Applicants who meet baseline requirements for finances and education (minimum secondary school diploma) are given a score in the “Employability” category, awarded points based on:

  • Education
  • Training
  • Work experience
  • Age
  • Language proficiency
  • Time spent in Quebec and family in Quebec
  • Valid job offer (bonus points, not required)

Candidates who receive enough points in “Employability” are then assessed in the “Selection” category, which considers the points received in “Employability”, plus the following factors:

  • Children
  • Financial self-sufficiency
  • Spouse/partner’s points for these factors (if applicable)

After candidates receive a score, they may be invited by the Minister to apply for a Quebec Selection Certificate (QSC), to be completed within 90 days. If successful, candidates will then be eligible to apply for permanent residence from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

Note that not everyone with a passing score will be invited to apply for a QSC. Other elements will be considered when issuing invitations, including applicants’ ability to successfully stay in Quebec, their region of destination, whether there is a shortage in their occupation in Quebec, and whether their country of origin is affected by a humanitarian crisis. The Minister will also prioritize applicants with a valid job offer, those who are currently working in Quebec full-time, and those with at least 6 months of prior work experience in Quebec.

Adjusted Scoring System

New applicants may now find it somewhat easier to obtain the required points, as the threshold for passing scores in the “Employability” and “Selection” categories have changed slightly, as follows:

Category Old System (passing score) New System (passing score)
Employability – 43 out of 90 points

– With spouse/partner: 52 out of 107 points

– 43 out of 94 points

– With spouse/partner: 52 out of 111 points

Selection 50 out of 99 points

– With spouse/partner: 59 out of 116 points

– 50 out of 103 points

– With spouse/partner: 59 out of 120 points

The scoring system was also updated for job offers, to encourage economic immigration to smaller cities and rural areas of the province. Applicants will still receive 8 points for a job offer in Montreal, however, there is an increase in the maximum number of points awarded for job offers in other regions. Previously, a job offer anywhere outside the Montreal metropolitan community was worth 10 points, now, candidates outside Montreal may earn between 10 and 14 points, depending on the specific region of their job offer.   

For detailed information on the points system and to see if you might qualify, click here.

There are also additions to the foreign degrees and diplomas officially recognized on the Quebec Areas of Training List. Foreign degrees in actuarial science, information management, restaurant management, and early childhood education were boosted to Section A, the highest category on the list, now earning the maximum number of points possible for an occupation. Moreover, dozens of foreign degrees were added to Section B of the list.  

To determine in what section your area of training falls and the number of points you will be granted for that training, consult the full list of areas of trainingCandidates who qualify under any section are eligible to apply. 

Who Can Apply? Broader Eligibility August 2018

More people are now eligible for the Quebec Skilled Worker Program. The program will now accept applications from individuals residing in Quebec who are completing or have completed their studies, or who have been working full-time legally in Quebec. People meeting these specific requirements are now eligible:

  • Completing(ed) a study program of 900-1799 hours AND full-time work experience (related to studies) within 6 months of the end of the program
  • Completing(ed) a study program of 1800 hours, or a pre-university or university diploma
  • Residing in Quebec for at least 1 year on a work permit, including at least 6 months of full-time work

To find out if you qualify for the Quebec Skilled Worker Program and to learn how FWCanada can help you with your application, fill out our assessment form.