Quebec Lowers Pass Mark for Canadian Immigration through Skilled Worker Program

CIC News
Published: August 19, 2015

Pour la version française, cliquez ici.

In a move that has been welcomed by current and potential candidates for Canadian permanent residence through the Quebec Skilled Worker Program (QSWP), the government of Quebec has this month lowered the pass mark required to obtain a Quebec Selection Certificate (CSQ) and, at the same time, removed the ‘adaptability’ factor from  the points-based program.

The major consequence of this change is that one of the thresholds (the adaptability interview) that previously had to be met by most applicants in order for them to proceed with an application for Canadian permanent residence through the QSWP has been removed. While the program is currently not open to new applicants, an announcement date for the next application cycle is expected before the end of 2015.

The rationale

In a press release posted on its official website, the government of Quebec stated that ‘Quebec will select skilled workers in a more objective, consistent and effective manner.’  The adaptability interview was deemed to have been overly subjective. In this interview, an applicant’s documentation, language proficiency, and settlement plan for Quebec may have been inspected.

Quebec noted that it retains the right to conduct interviews for the QSWP for quality control purposes and to verify the authenticity of submitted documents, though no points may be awarded for this interview.

The QSWP: How does it work?

The QSWP uses a points-based system, where points are awarded for an applicant’s area of training, work experience, age, language proficiency, prior relationship with Quebec (through visits or family), the human capital factors of the applicant’s spouse or common-law partner (if applicable), and whether or not the applicant has a validated job offer in Quebec. If an individual satisfies the minimum points requirement for these factors, he or she may then gain additional points for any accompanying dependent children and proof of financial self-sufficiency. Candidates should note that a job offer is not required for the QSWP.

Applicants should also note that they may be awarded points for French proficiency, though it is not an eligibility requirement for the program. Applicants who do not have knowledge of French, but who have strong credentials in other areas, may still be eligible to apply.

A single applicant must score at least 49 points, while an applicant with a spouse or common-law partner must score at least 57 points. Once a CSQ has been issued, applicants must then successfully complete medical and security examinations conducted by the federal government in order to be granted permanent resident status. Potential applicants to the QSWP should note that they should have the intention to reside within the province of Quebec.

Pursuing a federal and Quebec application simultaneously

For now, the QSWP remains a first-come, first-served immigration program. In contrast, the Express Entry selection system for the federal economic immigration programs selects potential applicants on a priority basis from a pool of candidates who have made an expression of interest in immigrating to Canada.

According to the governments of Quebec and Canada, candidates can apply under the QSWP and submit an Express Entry profile, as long as they withdraw one when either a CSQ or Invitation to Apply (ITA) is issued.

The QSWP may be an enticing option for individuals who wish to make an application to immigrate to Canada without having to be invited to apply, as well as individuals who are in the Express Entry pool and wish to increase their chances of successfully immigrating to Canada.

The latest welcome announcement

It is not yet known exactly when the next application cycle for the QSWP may begin, but today’s breaking news is the latest in a series of announcements made by the government of Quebec over recent months.

Towards a new Quebec Skilled Worker Program

“The latest announcement from Quebec regarding its flagship Skilled Worker Program is arguably the most important yet,” says Attorney David Cohen. “With fewer hurdles to jump, as well as a simplified documentation checklist, a new and more efficient online application system, and an Area of Training list that rewards occupations that many people have experience in, the immediate future for Quebec immigration is exciting.

“Moreover, the next application cycle could be one of the last of its kind, a way to apply for and obtain Canadian permanent residence on a first-come, first-served basis. I would encourage candidates who may be eligible for both the Quebec program and one of the federal economic programs to consider pursuing both options, thereby increasing their chances of establishing a new life in Canada.”

To find out if you are eligible for the Quebec Skilled Worker Program, or any of Canada’s over 60 immigration programs, please fill out a free assessment today.


Note: Though applications for a CSQ through the QSWP submitted before the announcement of the start of the official period for receipt of applications will be returned to applicants in most cases, candidates in one of the following situations may submit an application for a CSQ at any time:

  • The applicant is eligible for and has submitted an application under the Programme de l’expérience québécoise (PEQ, or Quebec Experience Program); or
  • The applicant has enclosed a validated employment offer with the application for a selection certificate submitted under the QSWP; or
  • Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has informed the applicant that it has agreed to process the application for permanent residence in Canada; or
  • The applicant is a temporary resident in Quebec and eligible to submit an application for a CSQ.

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