The Quebec Skilled Worker Program (QSWP), one of the few remaining Canadian immigration programs operating on a first-come, first-served basis, will have an application intake period this coming June. Following this, another intake period will take place. Both of these intakes will receive up to 5,000 applications from individuals interested in settling in one of Canada’s most vibrant and diverse provinces.
Through the QSWP, successful applicants and their families may obtain Canadian permanent resident status after receiving a Quebec Selection Certificate/certificat de selection du Québec (CSQ) from the government of the province of Quebec, home to the city of Montreal.
The announcement that two future intake periods will take place — with both intakes accepting a larger number of applications than expected — should benefit individuals who have already created an account in the secure online space Mon projet Québec, as well as those who did not create an account earlier this year.
The Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Diversité et de l’Inclusion (MIDI), the government ministry overseeing immigration to Quebec, has announced the following updated schedule for the QSWP:
- Up to 5,000 applications will be accepted from June 13 to June 20, 2016. This intake period will be restricted to the approximately 41,000 candidates who had created a Mon projet Québec account in January. Last month, thousands of individuals who had already created an account in the Mon projet Québec system attempted to log in to the system in order to submit their application, but the site was inaccessible due to server failure. Mon projet Québec is not scheduled to open for new registrations before the June intake period.
- When this number is reached, applicants who do not currently have an account may create one with a view to applying to the QSWP during the next intake period, the dates of which will be established later. During this period, the MIDI will receive up to 5,000 applications.
According to the Quebec Minister of Immigration, Kathleen Weil, these measures send a clear message to people who have had to deal with the failures of the system.
“I think they will see that there is a willingness to recognize the difficulty they [the candidates] experienced . . . My priority is the immigration candidates themselves,” said Ms. Weil.
How does the QSWP work?
The QSWP is a points-based immigration program, 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 point requirement based on these factors, he or she may then gain additional points for any accompanying dependent children and proof of financial self-sufficiency. Candidates should be aware that a job offer is not required for eligibility under 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.
From first-come, first-served to a new Expression of Interest system
For the time being, the QSWP operates on a first-come, first-served
basis, and this will remain the case for the June intake period.
Quebec’s Minister of Immigration recently tabled a bill that, if passed, would likely result in Quebec implementing an economic immigration system similar to the Express Entry system currently used by the government of Canada, whereby candidates must make an ‘Expression of Interest’ before being invited to apply based on their credentials. Once, as is expected, this bill becomes law, economic immigrants to Quebec will not be selected on a first-come, first-served basis. Rather, they will need to be invited to apply to the program based on labour market needs, having already made an ‘Expression of Interest’ in immigrating to the Canadian province of Quebec.
Accordingly, the upcoming application intake periods may be the last of their kind — a way to apply for immigration to Canada through an economic immigration program without having to first be invited to apply.
Preparation is key
“I am glad that the Quebec Minister of Immigration has instructed her department to reschedule the application intake period for the Skilled Worker Program for this June. This should give them the time they need to sort out the teething issues that have plagued the Mon projet Québec system since its inception. Moreover, the fact that more applications may be accepted for processing than was initially planned is only right and proper, given the circumstances,” says Attorney David Cohen.
“There is also positive news for individuals who did not manage to create an account earlier this year. These individuals may have thought that their chance at applying to this program had passed, but now we know that the MIDI plans on reopening the system for the second intake period. On this basis, individuals interested in immigrating to Canada who do not wish to be at the whim of immigration programs that involve expressions of interest and invitations to apply, and who also wish to have everything done online, should look seriously at preparing an application for the Quebec Skilled Worker Program.”