Quebec immigration remains open to a wide range of applicants. In fact, immigrating to Quebec is a popular route to achieve Canadian Permanent Residency. With the goal of reducing processing times for applications, the Government of Quebec has introduced a number of changes to Quebec immigration programs in recent months. Permanent workers, investors, entrepreneurs and self-employed workers looking to apply for a Quebec Selection Certificate should take note; spots are filling up quickly. Here is an overview of where these various programs stand today:
Quebec Skilled Worker Program
As of July 4th, the Quebec Skilled Worker (QSW) program has received over 4,400 applications out of a maximum intake cap of 6,500. This means that the program’s application cap, which was put in place on April 1, 2014, is now approximately two-thirds full.
Prospective immigrants applying to the QSW program must intend to live and work in Quebec. Applicants must, at a minimum, possess a diploma that corresponds to a Secondary School Diploma or a Diploma of Vocational Studies in the Québec education system.
Points are also awarded to applicants for a number of factors, including:
- Level of education;
- Area of training;
- French and/or English language skills;
- Work experience;
- Relationships to Quebec residents;
- Ability to be financially self-sufficient; and
- An offer of employment, if applicable.
Moving Forward: Expression of Interest system
The Government of Quebec has hinted that, in 2015, it will follow the lead of the Federal Government in transitioning to an ‘Expression of Interest’ immigration system.
The Expression of Interest model is designed to better target skilled immigrants and fill identifiable gaps in the labour market. It screens applicants based on aspects such as work experience, education, and language ability. The government then invites the best-suited applicants to apply for immigration through one of its programs.
If the Government of Quebec transitions to this system next year, it will signal the end of the current QSW selection system. This means that this is the last chance for applicants to apply directly to the QSW program.
“As the program stands today, applicants have until March 31st 2015 to apply, or until the cap is filled,” said Attorney David Cohen. “It is looking more and more likely that the cap will fill well before March. This means that, for many individuals interested in immigrating through this popular program, time is absolutely of the essence.”
Quebec Investor Program
The Quebec Investor Program also has a cap, which is the same as last year. No more than 1,750 applications will be accepted for review under this program. Moreover, no more than 1,200 applicants will be accepted from any one country.
Applications to this program will only be received during a short window of time, which has yet to be determined. While the official government website maintains that the program will be accepting applications between September 8th and 19th, the Quebec 2014 budget, which was adopted in June, indicated that these dates are likely to be changed. In any case, now is the time for applicants to begin putting his or her files together.
It is important to note that there is no cap for investors who are able to communicate in French at a high-intermediate level or higher. This means they can apply between now and March 31st 2015 regardless of how many other applications are received.
To qualify for the Quebec Investor category, investors must intend to reside in Quebec. They must also have a net worth of at least C$1.6 million and have a minimum of two years experience in management during the last five years. Lastly, investors have to agree to invest at least C$800,000 through a government approved financial intermediary.
Entrepreneurs and Self-Employed Workers
Like the QSW program, the Entrepreneur and Self-Employed Worker programs are quickly filling up. Over 300 applications have been accepted for review out of a maximum of 500 for the two programs combined.
To be eligible for the Entrepreneur program, among other things, an applicant must have net assets of at least C$300,000, and have a minimum of two years’ experience in the last five years running a lawful, profitable, business.
The eligibility requirements for the Self-Employed Worker program include having a net worth of C$100,000, and having at least two years of experience as a self-employed worker in the field the individual plans to practice in Québec.
Quebec Experience Class
Another option for immigration to Quebec is the Quebec Experience Class, which has no cap. This program is open to temporary workers who have held a skilled job in Quebec for 12 out of the last 24 months as well as graduates of Quebec universities or those nearing graduation. This program also requires knowledge of French.
Upcoming Court Case: Challenge to Recent QSW Changes
In October 2014, the Quebec Superior Court will hear a case challenging the Quebec Government’s decision to retroactively apply changes to the program’s eligibility criteria. Attorney David Cohen is serving as co-counsel on this case.
“We are arguing that the decision to retroactively apply program changes was not legal, and that it negatively affected applicants who otherwise may have been qualified for immigration,” said Attorney Cohen. “We are looking forward to giving those who were affected their day in court.”
To find out if you are eligible for immigration through a Quebec program, or any of Canada’s over 60 immigration programs, please fill out a free online assessment today.