The Quebec Skilled Worker Program versus The Federal Skilled Worker Class

CIC News
Published: October 1, 2012

The two most popular economic immigration programs in Canada are Federal Skilled Worker Class (FSWC) and the Quebec Skilled Worker (QSW) program. Neither program requires a Canadian job offer to be eligible to apply. The government of Canada recently announced significant changes to the FSWC, which were reported on in CIC News last month.

It is important that prospective applicants choose the program that best suits their professional strengths and their immigration goals. To help future applicants in the important decision of choosing an immigration program, CIC News presents the pros and cons of each program:

The Quebec Skilled Worker Program

Current Status: Open and Accepting Applications

Approximate Processing Time: 24 months (varies by country of application)

Visa Received: Canadian Permanent Resident Visa

General Information:

  • Selection System?
    • Points-based. Must receive 49 points to be eligible to submit as a single applicant, and 57 points as a couple or family.
  • Intake Quota?
    • No. There is currently no limit to the number of applications this program may receive.
  • Eligibility?
  • Language Requirements?
    • In theory no, but a certain level of French may be needed to make sufficient points.
  • Process?
    • Two-step process. First a Quebec Selection Certificate is obtained. Next, the entire application is reviewed on a Federal level for health and security issues.

This may be a good program for you if:

  • You want to become a Canadian Permanent Resident
  • You intend to initially settle in the Province of Quebec
  • You want to begin your application process today
  • You speak French and understand French or are interested in learning
  • You want to enter a strong labour market for your specific field of study

Attorney David Cohen’s opinion: “If you have experience in a targeted field of study, the QSW program will help you come to Canada with strong job prospects. Quebec is a beautiful province with a stable economy, and I encourage eligible applicants to consider this option whenever possible.”

The Federal Skilled Worker Class

Current Status: Only accepting applications with arranged employment in Canada or PhD students in Canada; new regulations are scheduled to come into force January 2013

Approximate Processing Time: Unknown (last FSWC advertised processing within 12 months)

Visa Received: Canadian Permanent Resident Visa

General Information:

  • Selection System
    • Points-based. Must receive a minimum of 67 out of 100 points
  • Intake Quota?
    • Maybe. No announcement has yet been made regarding a limit on application intake. However, the previous FSWC was capped at 10,000 applications.
  • Eligibility?
    • Yes; applicants must have a minimum of 1 year of skilled work experience in the preceding 10 years.
  • Language Requirements?
    • Yes. Applicants must pass a minimum language threshold in either English or French.
  • Process?
    • Direct application to a Central Intake Office in Canada.

This may be a good program for you if:

  • You want to become a Canadian Permanent Resident
  • You intend to initially settle anywhere in Canada outside of the Province of Quebec
  • You want to prepare your application before the new regulations take effect
  • You are a skilled worker whose field of study is not included in the QSW list

Attorney David Cohen’s Opinion: “Recent changes were made to many aspects of the FSWC. This means that immigrants who are accepted through this program will come to Canada better prepared to find good jobs and start a new life in the country. There is likely to be a cap on application intake, so if you are eligible to apply, it is a good idea to start building your application now and submit when the program opens.”

Regardless of which they choose, successful applicants to the FSWC and QSW programs will arrive in Canada with Permanent Resident status. The path they travel to get to Canada should be chosen with care to reflect the best interests of themselves and their families.

To find out if you are eligible for the FSWC, QSW, or any of over 60 Canadian immigration programs, please fill out a free online assessment.

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