Your Education Can Get You Top Marks in the Quebec Skilled Worker Program

CIC News
Published: June 28, 2011

Applicants wanting to immigrate to Canada but who do not meet the requirements of the Federal Skilled Worker Program may still be eligible for Canadian immigration under the Quebec Skilled Worker Program. The province of Quebec has the right to select most immigrants destined to their province and uses its own selection criteria in choosing candidates. The Quebec Skilled Worker Program uses a human capital model which awards points based on various selection factors such as age, education, language, work experience, and adaptability.

Unlike the Federal Skilled Worker Program, applicants in the Quebec Skilled Worker Program are not required to have work experience in a particular occupation to qualify, nor are they required to have a job offer from a Quebec employer. Any work experience that is above a low skilled occupation is considered under the Quebec Skilled Worker Program. To qualify for this program, an applicant must, at minimum, have completed a diploma which is equivalent to a general or vocational high school diploma in Quebec and must have sufficient settlement funds. A single applicant must score at least 49 points based on the selection factors and an applicant with a spouse or common-law/conjugal partner must score at least 57 points.

There are two selection factors in this program that many applicants find hard to understand: Education and the Area of Training.


Applicants can obtain up to 12 points under the Education factor for high school diplomas, vocational and technical diplomas, and university degrees. All foreign diplomas are evaluated in comparison to the Quebec education system. If an applicant has completed a Bachelor’s degree in his home country, the degree will be evaluated in comparison to the educational requirements of a Bachelor’s degree that is obtained in Quebec. In general, diplomas awarded from accredited schools in Canada are considered equivalent to Quebec diplomas.

The Government of Quebec has provided the Tableaux Comparatifs des Diplômes, which is a table that compares foreign degrees to their equivalent Quebec degrees; however this document is only available in French and can be very complex. Applicants who do not know how their degree equates to a Quebec degree are encouraged to have their degree evaluated by the Centre d'expertise sur les formations acquises hors du Québec or by consulting with a lawyer who is knowledgeable in Quebec immigration.

Area of training

The Area of Training (or Domaine de formation) is a selection factor that is directly related to education. This factor favours applicants by awarding up to an additional 16 points for diplomas completed that are on the List of Preferred Areas of Training. This list is intended to identify applicants who have obtained a diploma in an area with good medium-term job prospects in Quebec. As such, the list is compiled with particular regard to Quebec’s job market requirements. The list differentiates between diplomas obtained in Quebec versus foreign diplomas. Applicants are also able to claim points for their spouse’s Education and Area of Training.

In order to obtain points under the Area of Training factor, an applicant must have obtained the diploma within the five years prior to applying under the Quebec Skilled Worker Program or have legally worked full-time for at least one year in a field directly related to the diploma within the five years preceding the filing of his application.

Applicants may be surprised that certain secondary vocational training diplomas are awarded higher points than university degrees. For example, a secondary level diploma in Machining Techniques is worth 16 points compared to a Bachelor’s in Accounting, which is worth 6 points. Other examples of diplomas that are awarded high points for Area of Training include nursing, insurance and financial advisory services, civil engineering technology, plumbing and heating, and welding and fitting.

Applicants who have completed a degree or diploma outside of Quebec in an Area of Training that receives 12 or 16 points are also given priority processing and can have their application processed in less time than other applicants. Applicants who have obtained a validated job offer from an employer in Quebec will also be granted priority processing.

With fewer applications now being accepted under the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Quebec Skilled Worker Program can be a great option for potential immigrants from all educational backgrounds.


Find out if you qualify for the Quebec Skilled Worker Program by completing our Canadian immigration assessment form.



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