Canada's immigration policies have undergone major changes at the federal level. Immigrating to Canada under federal programs has become more difficult and unpredictable by any measure. Yet Quebec continues to offer professionals a pathway to Canada under the province's popular immigration programs which will account for 55,000 newcomers this year, representing 20% of Canada's annual intake.
Immigration in Canada is shared between the federal government and each of the provinces and territories. Quebec enjoys comprehensive rights in this area that are unparalleled in Canada. Once the province approves an application, the federal jurisdiction is confined to medical and security related issues.
Quebec features two popular quota-based programmes: the Quebec Skilled Workers Programme (QSWP) and the Quebec Immigrant Investor Programme (QIIP). The QIIP will begin accepting up to 1750 applications for 5-months beginning on August 31, 2015. The Quebec government has not specified its QSWP launch date but confirms it will take place anytime before October 1, 2015. The QSWP will accept 6300 applications.
The QSWP is point based and somewhat comparable to the Federal Skilled Worker Programme. However, despite being a French speaking province, the program features more lenient criteria and a predictable process. As many occupations do not require advanced French language skills, Quebec is a popular option for many intending immigrants to Canada who can submit an application before annual quotas are reached.
The most recent application cycle started on April 1, 2014, and the application cap of 6,500 was filled within four months.
Under the new application cycle set to open shortly, there are a number of new amendments that are favourable to many candidates. The 'areas of training' list, a modified version of an Occupational Demand List, has been expanded for this year's cycle. Quebec assesses candidates' education and "areas of training", as an additional measure of employability in the province.
Under the new Areas of Training list, candidates with a degree in fields such as computer science, engineering, finance and health care will be awarded higher points than previously.
Under the Quebec point-based system, considerable weighting is placed on French (and English) language skills where an applicant can receive a maximum of 22 points for language. However applicants with high scores in areas of training and other attributes can easily overcome a weakness in French language ability and still qualify under the Quebec skilled worker program.
"Quebec is targeting candidates with education and training in IT, Engineering, Finance and Health Care. It is even prepared to admit candidates who do not have strong French competencies. This places the Province in an ideal position to attract many highly skilled workers", says Attorney Colin Singer, Managing Partner of immigration.ca.
Under its business immigration program, the (QIIP) is aimed at encouraging high net worth individuals to settle in the province of Quebec. Quebec will accept a maximum of 1750 applications during the subscription period including a maximum of 1200 from China, Hong Kong and Macao.
The application quotas and the limited period of reception do not apply to applicants to the investor category who can demonstrate an intermediate to advanced level of French language proficiency through an approved standardized language test. Applicants who can meet this requirement may submit an application anytime during the period beginning April 1, 2015 through March 31, 2016.
To be eligible, applicants must demonstrate the following:
- A legitimately acquired personal net worth of at least 1.6 million Canadian Dollars;
- At least two years of senior managerial experience within the past five years in a private enterprise, eligible partnership, government body or NGO;
- Commit to making an interest free investment of CAD $800,000.00 in a prescribed (government guaranteed) investment for a period of five years;
- An intention to settle in the province of Quebec;
- Application processing fee of C$15,000.