Quebec’s Permanent Work Permits
Each year Quebec welcomes immigrant workers whose skill sets match current needs in the market. Unlike other Canadian Provinces which participate in the Provincial Nominee Program, Quebec does not have a specific Provincial Nominee Program. Instead, there are three unique programs for permanent workers in Quebec. These are: the Regular Skilled Worker Program, the Quebec Selection Certificate and the Self-Employed Worker Program. Currently, the permanent selection application process is based on expressed interest in living and working in Quebec. Recently, the Quebec government proposed changes to the PEQ program which would have made the program more selective. These changes were proposed in an attempt to attract skilled workers who would meet a specific market demand. However, backlash from students already in Quebec has led to the Quebec government introducing a grandfather clause which would help protect students already in Quebec.
Before you begin anything else, it is important to understand the job market, how your skills meet current needs and if the province is truly right for you. This research can be done using Quebec’s Getting Informed tool which provides important information about the feasibility of immigrating to Quebec. The second step in the process is to complete and submit an expression of interest to the immigration office. The third step is to determine which program for permanent workers you want to apply for. As each program is specifically designed to meet the needs of immigrants it is important that you apply for the best one for your personal circumstances.
What is a Quebec Selection Certificate (QSC)?
Immigration to Quebec is approved through two separate streams: selection (provincial level decision) and admission (federal level decision). Therefore, a potential applicant must pass both levels. The selection process is completed by an applicant obtaining a Quebec Selection Certificate. This certificate states that you have been selected by Quebec’s government for immigration. Obtaining this certificate is necessary but does not guarantee that you will become a Canadian permanent resident.
Regular Skilled Worker Program:
This program is geared towards workers who plan on working for a company or organization in Quebec.
Like Canadian Express Entry, selection for the Regular Skilled Worker Program is based on points awarded for specified factors and criteria. The number of points that you have will determine if you are eligible to be selected for the program. A detailed grid of the points system can be found on the Quebec immigration website.
The factors and criteria cover nine relevant topics:
1. Training: this factor considers your level of education and level of training complete.
2. Work Experience: where have you worked and for how long.
3. Age: the most points are awarded for people immigrating between the ages of 18 and 35.
4. Knowledge of French and English: You will need to demonstrate the level of language ability you have in both English and French.
5. Time Spent in Quebec and Family Relationships: Have you spent time in Quebec and do you have an family relationships with Canadian citizens or permanent residents.
6. Job Offer: do you have a permanent job offer with an organization recognized by the Quebec government.
7. Spouse: the same information that you have provided will need to be provided regarding your spouse.
8. Other Factors: these include things such as number of children under the age of 22 that would accompany you.
9. Financial Self-Sufficiency: You will need to sign contract that you are able to support yourself and your family’s needs for at least 3 months after you arrive in Quebec.
Before You Complete Your Application:
1. Identify if your profession or skill is regulated. Regulation means that some professions are governed by professional bodies. For example, engineering and nursing. Knowing if your profession is regulated will help you understand which conditions you need to meet in order to work Quebec.
2. Understand the obstacles to finding a job in Quebec.
3. Understand the costs of immigrating to Quebec including the costs of settling a new place.
4. Understand the selection process.
5. Determine when the next intake is.
Obtain A Quebec Selection Certificate:
In order to apply for the Quebec Skilled Worker Program, an applicant needs to meet the minimum required scores. Applicants applying without a spouse or common-law partner must reach a minimum of 43 points on the employability factors and 50 points total. Applicants applying with a spouse or common-law partner must reach a minimum of 52 points on the employability factors and 59 points total. If you meet this threshold, you will be able to submit an Expression of Interest online. After you have submitted an expression of interest, Quebec’s government will invite some of the applicants to submit an application for a Quebec Selection Certificate. The following table breaks down the minimum points needed to qualify. See above for a detailed breakdown of how points are awarded.
Minimum Required Points (Without Spouse/With Spouse)
Valid Job Offer
Employability Eligibility Score
Submit an Application for Permanent Residence:
If you are invited to apply, you will need to submit an application for permanent selection. This will require you to send your supporting documentation in as well.
Programme de l’expérience québécoise (PEQ – Québec experience program)
If you are currently living in Quebec while working or studying, then this program is for you. PEQ allows those individuals who meet the requirements a fast-tracked way to apply for permanent immigration. This is a two-step program. First you will need to meet the requirements for the Quebec Selection Certificate (QSC). This certificate means that the applicant has been approved by the government of Quebec to apply for permanent settlement. Once a Quebec Selection Certificate has been awarded, the applicant can then apply for Canadian permanent residency.
Changes are occurring in this program but as of November 2019, the current requirements are as follows:
- Bachelor’s Degree
- Master’s Degree
- Diploma of College Studies – Technical
- Vocational Diploma (at least 900 hours of study)
- Attestation of Vocational Specialization (at least 900 hours of study)
- Attestation of College Studies (at least 900 hours of study)
Admissible Areas of Study:
Only certain areas of studies are considered to be eligible for PEQ. The full and current list of areas of study can be found on the Quebec’ Immigration site.
Additionally, candidates must have been in Quebec for at least half the time of their study. For programs the range from 900 to 1,800 hours, the candidates must complete 6 months of full-time work experience.
Temporary Foreign Workers:
As of November 2019, temporary foreign workers are eligble for PEQ if they:
- hold a job that is on the list of jobs in demand in the Quebec job market
- For jobs in levels 0, A and B – you will need to have held the job for at least 12 months during the 24 month period before the application was submitted
- for jobs in levels C and D – you will need to ave held the job for at least 18 months during the 24 month period before the application was submitted
- For regulated professions- you will need meet the requirements of your professional body.
- The job CANNOT be: in an ineligible field, self- employment or for a company you have control over.
As of January 1, 2020 there are new rules regarding demonstrating knowledge of French and you must show one of the following:
- the results of a standardized test
- fulfillment of the language requirements of a professional body
- successful completion of at least three years of secondary or post secondary education conducted only in French
A new selection requirement also went into effect. Individuals will be required to learn the democratic and Quebec values found in the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms.
Self- Employed Worker Program
- You must be coming to Quebec to create your own job
- Make a start-up deposit at a financial institution
- $25,000 CAD if you plan on starting your business outside out of the Montreal Metropolitan Community
- $50,000 CAD is you plan on starting your business inside the Montreal Metropolitan Community
- Have net assets of $100,000 CAD with proof of its lawful acquisition
- Have at least two years of experience as a self-employed worker in the area you plan on working in Quebec.
You will also need to supply the following information:
- your age and the age of your spouse
- level of education and your spouse’s education
- language skills and your spouse’s language skills
- financial self-sufficiency
- visits to Quebec
- Family in Quebec