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A popular Canadian immigration program run by the province of Quebec will reopen for 5,000 new applications at some point during the next 12 months, it has been announced.
The Quebec Skilled Worker Program (QSWP, also referred to by the government of Quebec as the ‘Regular Skilled Worker Program’) gives individuals and families the opportunity to make an application to a program that still operates on a first-come, first-served basis, as opposed to the ‘Expression of Interest’ systems that have become popular throughout many other provinces, as well as at the federal level.
Applicants first apply to the government of Quebec for a Quebec Selection Certificate (Certificat de sélection du Québec, also known as a CSQ), before applying to the federal government for Canadian permanent residence. Quebec assesses the application based on criteria set by the province, while the federal government assesses for admissibility factors.
The announcement that the QSWP would receive up to 5,000 new applications was made in the Gazette Officielle du Québec, which lists all the legislative and regulatory decisions taken by the government of Québec, on March 30, 2017. These QSWP applications will be accepted during an intake period that will occur before March 31, 2018. The exact dates for the upcoming intake period are yet to be announced.
For the most recent application cycle, individuals wishing to submit an application for a CSQ through the QSWP did so through the online management system Mon projet Québec. When creating an account, individuals were required to enter personal information related to their civil status, work history, education history, family, and previous visits to Quebec, if applicable, as well as other personal details. The government of Quebec has not stated whether or not the upcoming application cycle may deviate from this process.
The QSWP is a points-based immigration program, whereby points may be awarded for an individual’s area of training, work experience, age, language proficiency in French and/or English, prior relationship with Quebec (through visits or family), the human capital factors of the applicant’s spouse or common-law partner (if applicable). Potential applicants must accrue enough points for these factors before then satisfying a second points threshold, where points may be awarded for any accompanying dependent children and proof of financial self-sufficiency.
While a job offer is not required for the QSWP, additional points may be awarded for a validated job offer in the province.
Potential applicants should also note that they may be awarded points for French proficiency, though it is not an eligibility requirement for the program. Individuals who do not have knowledge of French, but who have strong credentials in other areas, may be eligible to apply to the QSWP.
Earlier this month, the government of Quebec tweaked the QSWP points system. At the preliminary threshold, the minimum point score required has risen from 42 points to 43 points for a single applicant, and from 50 points to 52 points for a couple. The second and final threshold is now 50 points for a single applicant (up from 49), and 59 points for a couple (up from 57).
The number of points awarded for certain areas of training have also been altered. For this factor, Quebec allots a set number of points across five tiers, awarding more points to individuals with areas of training deemed to be in demand in the local labour market. Previously, top tier (section A) areas of training were awarded 16 points, but these are now worth 12 points. Areas of training previously worth 12 points are now worth nine points. The number of points awarded for areas of training that were previously awarded six or two points have not changed. Points may also be awarded for the area of training of the accompanying spouse or common-law partner, and the number of points awarded for this factor has not changed.
The changes will affect all applications submitted on or after March 8, 2017. Moreover, the changes are also applicable to applications that were submitted before March 8, and which have not yet entered the preliminary processing stage.
“There are a couple of reasons to be excited about this announcement from Quebec. First, we now know that there will be an intake period, and that 5,000 proactive individuals, and their families, will be able to immigrate to Quebec as a result of this intake,” says Attorney David Cohen.
“Second, we may expect a smoother management process with respect to the Mon projet Québec system, which it is fair to say experienced some technical teething issues when it was first introduced last year. Not only has the government had time to make improvements, but recent changes to the points system may mean that fewer people try to access the system simultaneously. Moreover, this latter factor may also lead to eligible registrants having a greater chance of submitting an application, and ultimately obtaining Canadian permanent resident status.”
Note: Individuals in either of the following situations are not subject to the cap and may submit an application for a CSQ at any time:
In both the above cases, the applicant must also satisfy the points thresholds described above.
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