Candidates for popular Canadian immigration program must register before August 16 opening date
Individuals interested in immigrating to Canada through the Quebec Skilled Worker Program (QSWP) have less than two weeks remaining to create an online account in anticipation of the program reopening for applications on August 16. The QSWP is a points-based program that operates on a first-come, first-served basis, unlike the ‘Expression of Interest’ systems that have become popular across Canada over recent months and years.
The QSWP application process moved online in January, 2016. Individuals interested in applying to the program are required to create and complete a profile on the online intake management system Mon projet Québec. The QSWP receives application submissions during designated intake periods, which have a limit — or cap — on the number of applications that may be received. The next intake period, which opens at 8:30 a.m. EST (Montreal time) on August 16, will receive 5,000 applications through Mon projet Québec. As a program that operates on a first-come, first-served basis, only the first 5,000 applicants to submit their online profile will be accepted in the next intake period.
The crucial first step for individuals wishing to submit an application to the QSWP is to register an account on Mon projet Québec. Without an account, individuals will be unable to submit an application during the intake period. Once the account is registered, candidates are required to complete the application profile. This profile asks for information relating to civil status, education history, work history, experience in Quebec, and language knowledge, among other criteria. Certain information is also required for any family members joining the principal applicant on the application profile.
Currently, it is possible for candidates to complete all the required information for their profiles, in preparation for the intake date. The very last step of the profile is the submission. This is currently inactive as the intake period is closed, but on August 16 candidates will have the opportunity to click the Soumettre/Submit button. Serious candidates are encouraged to complete and verify their profiles as soon as possible in order to prepare for August 16, as candidates have a limited time of ten minutes on the site during the intake period.
The most recent intake period, which opened on June 13, also received 5,000 applications. Due to the popularity of the QSWP, the cap filled within six hours. The imminent account registration deadline highlights the importance of registering and completing a profile as soon as possible, in order to be ready to submit an application on August 16.
The Quebec Advanatge
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 Quebec Selection Certificate/certificat de selection du Québec (CSQ) or an Invitation to Apply (ITA) is issued. Therefore, individuals who have been in the Express Entry pool for a period of time, but who have not yet received an ITA, may also pursue their Canadian immigration goals through the QSWP.
Moreover, individuals who are not eligible to enter the Express Entry pool or submit an application to another Canadian province through a Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) may be eligible for the QSWP, which has unique eligibility criteria. Under the QSWP, points may be awarded for an individual’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 for these factors, he or she may then gain additional points for any accompanying dependent children and proof of financial self-sufficiency.
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.
The QSWP may be attractive for many reasons:
- There is no mandatory language requirement for the QSWP. Other Canadian economic immigration programs in Canada require proof of language ability in English or French. But if an applicant has enough points from other categories to be eligible under the QSWP, he or she does not have to provide the results of a language test.
- Individuals may still gain points for a lower IELTS score than in other programs. Under the QSWP, applicants can gain four points with a result of band five in each section of the test, whereas points are not awarded in many other programs for results below a band six.
- A job offer is not required for the QSWP.
- Individuals without skilled work experience may apply. The QSWP awards points for work experience gained in National Occupational Classification (NOC) level C occupations, which includes a range of occupations in the food and transport industries, among other industries.
The upcoming QSWP intake period may be the last in 2016 — indeed, it may be the last of its kind. The government of Quebec has introduced a policy that aims to shift the province to a system similar to Canada’s Express Entry system, whereby candidates submit an Expression of Interest and await an ITA based on their credentials.
“What certain people are finding with the Expression of Interest immigration systems is that they are relying on being cherry-picked, and that there is a lack of certainty about their future. The most well-known of these systems, of course, is Express Entry,” says Attorney David Cohen.
“As more provinces follow the federal government’s lead and create Expression of Interest-style programs, immigration options that do not require an invitation to apply, such as the Quebec Skilled Worker Program, are becoming rarer. In fact, Quebec has made it clear that the program will not function in this first-come, first-served manner for much longer. Therefore, I would encourage individuals and families who want to take control of their own destiny to register a Mon projet Québec account and be fully prepared to submit an application on August 16.”