Quebec immigration updates Quebec Skilled Worker Program

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Quebec's department of immigration has announced a reform of the province's immigration system. In particular, the Quebec Skilled Worker Program (QSWP) will be governed by new rules from August 1st 2013.

From that date, the QSWP will accept only 20,000 applications each year. Individuals who apply under the program but already have an offer of employment will not be subject to this cap. Successful applicants will be able to apply to the federal immigration authorities for a Canadian permanent resident visa.

The main change made to the QSWP is to the way in which points are awarded for language skills. Before the changes come into force, applicants will receive a small number of points for even very basic ability in French. After the changes are introduced, applicants will receive no points at all for French language ability unless they speak and understand French to an intermediate level.

New rules come in on August 1st

As of 1st August 2013, all immigrant workers will need to
  • Settle in Quebec, intending to be employed there
  • Be educated to at least a level equivalent to Quebec's secondary school diploma or the diploma of vocational studies level
  • Have been trained and work experience to help you integrate in the job market.
  • Speak French to the required standard
In order to decide on your application, Quebec's Ministere d'Immigration et Communautes culturelles will assess you against the QSWP points grid.

If you are a single person and are applying under the QSWP, your will need to score 49 points.

If you are intending to move to Canada with your wife, partner or same sex partner, you will have to score 57 points to qualify.

Quebec points grid

CriterionPoints awarded
Offer of employmentUp to 10
Work experienceUp to 8
AgeUp to 16
Language skills6 to 22
Period of stay and family in QuebecUp to 8
Spouse's skills/training/ageUp to 16
ChildrenUp to 8
Ability to support oneself1*

* If you do not score this point, your application will be refused.


Applicants can score a maximum of 28 points for their education and training. A maximum of 12 points can be scored for academic education. An undergraduate degree would give you ten points and a master's degree or a doctorate would be worth 12 points.

Quebec will also give up to sixteen points to people who have a diploma, awarded in the last five years in a skill listed on Quebec's List of Areas of Training 2009. No points are awarded for areas of training that are only awarded 6 points on the 2009 list.

Among the priority qualifications are

  • Various medical qualifications including doctors, dentists, various therapists, pharmacologists, physiotherapists, nurses
  • Various engineering qualifications including scientists, lab technicians etc
  • Various trade qualifications for plumbers, mechanics, welders, machinists etc.

Work experience

You can score up to eight points for work experience in Quebec. .You score no points unless you have completed at least six months of qualifying work experience. If you have completed less than two years' work experience, you will receive 4 points. If you have completed between two and four years' qualifying work experience, you will receive 6 points. You will gain 8 points if you have more than four years' qualifying experience.

Qualifying work experience must have been completed in the last five years. It must have been in a job rated in Skill Levels A, B or C or 0.

Level A: Is work that requires university qualification
Level B: Is for work that requires

  • at least two years training at a post-secondary college or similar or
  • at least two years apprenticeship or
  • requiring four years of secondary school training and two years on-the-job training
  • Level B also includes supervisory positions and health and safety roles (police, fire fighting)
Level C: Is for jobs requiring either
  • Completion of secondary school and some short training courses or
  • Some secondary education and up to two years' on-the-job training
Level 0: Management positions

Level D does not qualify. Level D jobs require either no training or only a short demonstration or on-the-job training.

Knowledge of French (and English)

Applicants will be required to take a test to prove their French language ability. The new test will focus on oral French and English language skills. You will have to speak French to level B2 (Where A1 is absolute beginner and C2 is advanced) in order to score any points. Applicants can gain a maximum 16 points for French ability and a further 6 for their English.

Previous stays and relationship with Canadian national and/or permanent resident

If you have stayed in Quebec before, particularly if you studied there, then you will score between two and five points. If one of the following is resident in Quebec, you will score three points towards your total.
  • Spouse
  • Son or daughter
  • Father or mother
  • Brother of sister
  • Grandfather or grandmother

Offer of employment

If you have an offer of full-time employment in Quebec from an employer which has fulfilled all the legal requirements in order to employ a foreign worker, then you will receive up to ten points towards your points total.

Spouse's attributes

Points will be awarded to you on the basis of your spouse's education. If (s)he has a doctorate you will receive 3 points. You may also receive 4 points for his/her training, up to three points for his/her age and up to six points for his/her language ability.Dependent childrenIf you are bringing dependent children with you, you will be awarded points up to a maximum of eight. Each child under 12 will be awarded four points and each child between 13 and 21 will be worth 2 points.

Ability to support oneself

Only one point is awarded under the points-based test but, if you do not score this point your application will not be successful.

You must have at least the following in your bank account when you make your application

Number of people included in application Minimum funds (Canadian dollars)
1 11,115
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