Under the Canada-Quebec Accord, the province of Quebec has the right to select most immigrants destined to their province. Recently, new rules have been adopted regarding procedures for the processing of certain applications for a Certificat de sélection du Québec submitted by permanent workers, investors, business people and self-employed workers. These changes were published in the Gazette Officielle du Québec on Wednesday, July 17, 2013. These new rules are in effect from August 1, 2013 to March 31, 2014.
All applications will be processed according to the new rules in effect as of August 1, 2013, with the exception of those for which processing began prior to that date.
The points in the selection grid granted to candidates for language knowledge have also changed. Applicants applying to the skilled worker stream can receive a maximum of 22 points for language skills. Up to 16 points are awarded for French proficiency, and up to 6 for English.
- The weighting in the selection grid for knowledge of French has changed. The level required to obtain points for the factor Language knowledge has been increased;
- The advanced intermediate level has become the minimum threshold from which points are attributed for knowledge of oral and written French;
- Two points can be attributed to the principal applicant for knowledge of written French.
These new rules ensure that prospective immigrants must demonstrate a better understanding of French, can integrate into, and do business, in Quebec society.
In addition, a new list of areas of training came into effect on August 1, 2013. This new area of training list will effectively better align immigration to the current needs of Quebec's labour market. The 2013 List of areas of training reflecting the Quebec job market outlook for immigrants can be viewed here.
The Quebec government has also introduced a cap on application intake as follows. The maximum numbers of applications accepted include:
- Business people: Investors: 1750 / Entrepreneurs and self-employed workers: 500
- Skilled workers: 20,000
This will allow the Quebec government to process applications faster and deal with the current backlog. As of June 30, 2013, 77,363 applications for a Certificat de sélection du Québec were pending (65, 202 from skilled workers, 11, 920 from investors and 241 from business people).
In 2011-2012, Quebec received 7,179 immigration applications from investors, 275 from entrepreneurs and self-employed, and 53,890 from skilled foreign workers.
Effective August 1, 2013, applications will be processed in the following order:
- applications from candidates submitted under the Programme de l’expérience québécoise (Quebec experience program);
- applications from candidates who submit a valid employment offer;
- applications from candidates who obtain points under the factor Area of training;
- any other application submitted by permanent workers.
Quebec skilled workers program
On August 1, 2013, new rules and procedures for the Quebec skilled workers program will come into effect. To be selected as an immigrant worker, the foreign worker must:
- settle in Quebec with the goal of being employed there
- hold at least one diploma that corresponds to one in the Quebec education system or to a Secondary School Diploma or a Diploma of Vocational Studies
- have acquired training and occupational skills that will facilitate his or her integration into the job market
The following employability factors will be taken into account:
- the applicant's schooling (level of education and area of training)
- the applicant's work experience
- the applicant's age
- the applicant's knowledge of French and English
- the applicant's stays in Quebec and family relationship with a Canadian citizen or a permanent Quebec resident
- having a valid employment offer (this applies only if the applicant has received a job offer that meets certain conditions from a Quebec employer)
- characteristics regarding the applicant's accompanying spouse or common-law spouse, if applicable
Programme de l’expérience québécoise (Quebec experience program)
This program is an accelerated selection program for skilled workers which came into effect on February 14, 2010. It was especially designed for temporary workers who hold a skilled job in Québec or foreign students who graduated in Québec or are studying towards graduation.
If the person submits an application under the Programme de l’expérience québécoise (Quebec experience program), they will be informed that the level of knowledge required for oral French has been increased:
- If they choose to demonstrate their level of knowledge of French by means of a standardized test, the level required is now advanced intermediate.
- If they choose to demonstrate their level of knowledge of French by means of their schooling, they must have completed a minimum of three years of secondary or post-secondary studies in French.
Foreign students who have graduated in Quebec must submit within 36 months after obtaining the diploma, the application for a Certificat de sélection du Québec. All applications will be processed according to the new rules in effect as of August 1, 2013, with the exception of those for which processing began prior to that date.
Since August 1, 2013, applicants must pay a fee of $10,000 for review of their application for a Certificat de sélection du Québec as an investor immigrant. Since this fee covers the entire file, family members will not be required to pay additional fees.
Investor applicants must submit their application according to the following requirements:
- Their application must be received between August 1 and 16, 2013, by regular mail only.
- Their application can be submitted at any time if they have advanced intermediate knowledge of French demonstrated by a standardized test.
- The order of priority for processing applications deemed receivable up until the established ceiling has been reached will be determined by random draw supervised by an external firm.
- They can only submit one application.
- Applications from China, Hong Kong and Macao must be sent to the Bureau d’immigration du Québec in Hong Kong.
- Applications from any other territory must be sent to the Direction du courrier et de l’encaissement in Montreal.
In June 2012, Quebec had suspended receiving applications from investors because of the growing number of applications.
Entrepreneurs and self-employed workers
If a person submits an application under the Entrepreneur program, they should be informed that:
- the advanced intermediate level has become the minimum threshold from which points are attributed for knowledge of oral and written French;
- the new weighting applies to principal applicants only.
If they submit an application under the self-employed worker program, they must be informed that:
- the advanced intermediate level has become the minimum threshold from which points will be attributed for knowledge of oral and written French;
- the new weighting applies to both principal applicants (for oral and written) and spouses (oral only).
Brief last words
Many immigration experts (lawyers and consultants) feel that these new rules (especially the increase in knowledge of French) to attract more francophones et francophiles will result in a change in the profile of immigrants accepted into Quebec. They even went so far as to say that this means less people from China (in the investor program since there is a cap of 1,200 person per country and the increase in the minimum threshold for knowledge of oral and written French) and North Africa (for skilled workers since the list of occupations has changed).