The much-anticipated Quebec Skilled Worker Program (QSWP) will reopen in under a week, with postal applications to be accepted from November 4, 2015. The QSWP is a popular Canadian immigration program, with successful applicants and their families obtaining Canadian permanent resident status.
A maximum of 6,300 applications will be received for this program. The most recent QSWP application cycle opened in 2014 with an intake of 6,500 applications. This cap was reached within four months, and it is expected that demand for the upcoming application cycle will be similarly popular, perhaps even more so than the 2014 cycle.
The 2014 QSWP application cycle operated on a first-come, first-served basis, and no changes to the imminent application cycle have yet been announced. This feature marks the QSWP as a more assured and straightforward way of obtaining Canadian permanent residence compared with the federal economic immigration programs that are processed through the Express Entry selection system. If an applicant is eligible for the QSWP and submits a complete application within the timeframe set by the government of Quebec, he or she may have a clear path towards Canadian immigration.
Over the past number of months, the government has made slight changes to the QSWP criteria, including the release of a new Area of Training list. In addition, in August, 2015, the government of Quebec lowered the pass mark required to obtain a Quebec Selection Certificate/certificat de selection du Québec (CSQ) and, at the same time, removed the ‘adaptability’ factor from the points-based program. Consequently, candidates who may not have been eligible for a previous application cycle of the QSWP may now be eligible to submit an application.
The government of Quebec has announced that the application cycle will be split into two periods. The first, which will run from November 4 to December 15, 2015, will accept up to 3,500 postal applications only. The second, which will run from January 18 to March 31, 2016, will process up to 2,800 applications online.
The government of Quebec had previously announced that an online system would be in place for this application cycle and, while the government remains true to its word, the fact that a postal intake period will precede the online processing period is a welcome bonus for potential applicants, as it gives them an opportunity to submit an application quickly before the online system is launched. Moreover, it remains to be seen how the online system may operate.
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.
“This application cycle of the Quebec Skilled Worker Program 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,” says Attorney David Cohen.
“Moreover, this application cycle follows a series of positive and welcome announcements from the government of Quebec. Compared with previous application cycles, applicants are now presented with a simplified documentation checklist, an Area of Training list that rewards occupations that many people have experience in, and a new and more efficient online application system.
“I have had the good fortune to reside in Quebec for most of my life, in the vibrant city of Montreal. It is an exciting place with unique career opportunities, as well as a near-perfect place to raise a family. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the towns and cities of Quebec to any potential newcomer to Canada.”
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:
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