Quebec’s Attraction for Knowledge-based Workers

CIC News
Published: November 30, 2011

While Quebec should be considered a great destination for immigrants, open to those from a wide variety of backgrounds, including everything from nurses to various construction trades, this month we highlight its particular attraction to knowledge-based workers.

More than any other province, or even in comparison to Canada’s federal programs, Quebec’s immigration program is geared towards well educated candidates. In particular, Quebec puts a premium on highly skilled occupations, for example, those that are engineering or computer-related.

Indeed, because of how Canada’s immigration programs are structured, in some cases Quebec becomes the only choice for many seeking a better life in Canada. Fortunately, by Quebec having structured its immigration program to best reflect its own economic needs, including feeding technology clusters in gaming, aerospace, and biotech, it is also well aligned with the aspirations of many of these professionals.

Comparing the Quebec Skilled Worker (QSW) program, as was detailed in last month’s CIC News, to other immigration programs available in Canada, a few things stand out:

  • There is an advantage for highly-skilled workers in particular fields. While the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) program, for example, does select 29 qualifying occupations as a basic eligibility requirement, these 29 occupations do not include some of the jobs that will be most in demand in the future, like engineers. Nor does the FSW, or any other provincial program, prioritize and give extra weight to particular areas of study, like Quebec does.
  • Unlike many Provincial Nominee Programs, a job offer is not required by Quebec.
  • There are no caps per occupation.

The Quebec Skilled Worker program is a points-based system which emphasizes area of study. So for example, some areas of engineering are awarded particularly high points, such as mechanical, civil, chemical, and biomedical engineering. IT related fields which are given a priority include computer science, computer engineering, and 3D animation.

Quebec goes even further by broadening out how it awards points to particular coveted areas. For instance, because of its thriving aerospace industry, which includes companies like Bombardier, Rolls-Royce, and Pratt & Whitney, vocational and college graduates from aviation-related disciplines are also given priority.

This is also true in the computer field, where new immigrant workers can help to satisfy growing needs in its equally robust gaming industry, which includes global players like Ubisoft, Electronic Arts, and Warner Interactive. Two particularly high scoring related areas of study, 3D animation, and computer support, both do not require a university degree.

“Quebec has created a sophisticated immigration system based on its human capital needs,” says Attorney David Cohen. “In particular, because of its high concentration of technology jobs, and its good job of targeting these types of immigrants, there should be lots of opportunity for rewarding employment once these professionals make their move.”

To see if you are eligible to immigrate to Canada via the Quebec Skilled Worker program, or through any other provincial or federal program, you can use's assessment form.

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