The Quebec Skilled Worker (QSW) program has received a surprisingly high number of applications since it introduced a cap on overall application intake. Since August 1, 2013, a total of almost 4,000 new QSW applications have been received by the Province of Quebec, out of an overall cap of 20,000. This outpaces the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) program, which has received just 3,100 applications in twice the amount of time.
Why is there an intake cap?
A number of Canadian immigration programs currently have application intake caps in place. By limiting the number of applications that will be accepted for processing, authorities can ensure that processing times remain low and no application backlogs are created. This is part of a broader push that the Canadian government has made in recent years to transition its immigration system to one that is “faster and more flexible”, thus serving the best interests of Canadians and potential immigrants alike.
The Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) program, which facilitates immigration to provinces outside of Quebec, has been subject to caps since 2008. However, this is the first year that the QSW has followed suit.
The FSW and QSW are two of the most popular Canadian immigration programs. The FSW program has, in the past year, greatly restricted its eligibility requirements. This includes limiting eligibility to workers with experience in just 24 occupations, as well as limiting application intake to 5,000 overall between May 4, 2013 and April 30, 2014. Because of these restrictions, immigration to Canada through the already popular QSW has in recent months seen an upswing in popularity.
Who is affected by the cap?
Applicants applying to the QSW program before March 31, 2014 will be subject to the cap. We do not know what will happen after that date.
At present, an applicant is eligible to apply to the QSW as long as he or she has at least high school level of education and achieves a sufficient number of points on a points grid specific to the program. The points grid assesses factors such as work experience, age, French and English language proficiency, and family information.
“The Quebec Skilled Worker system favours experienced workers as well as families,” said Attorney David Cohen. “The province is looking to bring in the next generation of talented, driven Quebecers. However, they want to make sure that all prospective immigrants are processed quickly and fairly. It is for this reason that the government has instituted an intake cap on the program.”
Advice for applicants – be proactive
Preparing and submitting an application to the QSW can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. While there is still time to submit an application before the cap closes, applicants should be aware that the 20,000 limit is steadily filling.
“We do not know what the Quebec Skilled Worker program will look like after March 31, 2014,” said Attorney David Cohen. “Therefore, applicants who are eligible today should make an effort to submit their applications as soon as possible. The Canadian immigration system rewards those who are organized and driven to succeed.”