What is the change? Quebec has released details about its new Expression of Interest program that will replace its first-come, first-served system and prioritize employment-based applicants who have skills that are in high demand in the province.

What does the change mean? The Expression of Interest program will operate on a three-step process in which applicants must meet threshold scores according to Quebec’s points grid. Candidates will be selected by periodic draws similar to the federal Express Entry system, and invitations to apply will be issued to candidates with the highest scores as well as consideration of other factors. Those who receive an invitation to apply will apply for a Quebec Selection Certificate and, if successful, may then apply for Canadian permanent residency.

  • Implementation time frame: Aug. 2.
  • Visas/permits affected: Permanent residency under Quebec’s Expression of Interest program.
  • Who is affected: Skilled foreign nationals 18 and older who are living and working in or intending to immigrate to Quebec.
  • Impact on processing: Applicants who are issued an invitation to apply have 90 days to submit an application for a Quebec Selection Certificate (CSQ). Applicants will be processed within 12 months, and successful applicants must then apply for Canadian permanent residency through the department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.
  • Business impact: The program provides new opportunities for companies operating in Quebec to recruit and sponsor permanent foreign workers.
  • Next steps: Beginning Aug. 2, applicants may create an online profile in the Expression of Interest bank with Quebec’s Ministry of Immigration, Diversity and Inclusion. Profiles remain active in the bank for one year.  

Background: The three-step process is as follows. The first threshold for minimum eligibility is 2 points for secondary school general diploma and 1 point for financial self-sufficiency. The second threshold requires a minimum score of 43 points for “employability” factors. The third threshold of 50 points (59 points if applying with a spouse/partner) is based on additional “selection” criteria.

Candidates in the profile bank will be scored on the basis of nine factors on the Quebec Skilled Worker Program points grid, including work experience, education and training, language skills in English or French, financial self-sufficiency, among others.

Criteria Maximum Possible Score
Training 26 points
Work experience 8 points
Age 16 points
Language ability 22 points (16 for French; 6 for English)
Stay and family in Quebec 8 points
Spouse/partner characteristics 17 points
Valid job offer 10 points
Presence of accompanying children 8 points
Financial self-sufficiency 1 point

A complete breakdown of the points in each category can be viewed here.

BAL Analysis: Quebec’s Expression of Interest program will offer benefits to foreign skilled workers while prioritizing regional labor needs and significantly reduce processing times from the current three years to less than one year.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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