Applicants in the Quebec Skilled Worker (QSW) program may be required to attend an interview with a Quebec immigration officer. This month, CIC News offers some advice on how to prepare and interviews Fritzie Selga, a Filipino nurse who succeeded at her interview and received her certificat de sélection du Québec (CSQ).
Currently, most applicants in the QSW program are called to a personal interview where their “adaptability” for Quebec is assessed. In some cases, an interview waiver will be granted if the candidate passes the overall point threshold without needing these adaptability points and the immigration officer is satisfied with the supporting documents. He/she will then receive a CSQ and will be able to directly proceed to the federal portion of the application process.
Interviews generally take place 8-14 months after the submission of an application. The interview takes place at a location that is designated by the appropriate Quebec immigration office. For the current list of locations and dates, seeSchedule of selection missions. The candidate must attend the selection interview unless he/she has a valid reason supported by proof, such as not being able to get a visa for the country where the interview will take place, or a medical reason, such as a pregnancy. The interview may then be rescheduled for a later date.
It is a good idea to understand how adaptability points are allocated since evaluating adaptability is the primary objective of the interview. There are a total of 6 points that can be awarded, apportioned as follows:
- The applicant’s general knowledge of Quebec. This includes an understanding of the history, culture, geography, society, values and laws of the Province of Quebec.
- Quality of the candidate’s overall project to immigrate to Quebec. This includes components such as knowledge of the Quebec job market and the situation of the applicant’s occupation in the province, familiarity with living expenses in Quebec and having made a budget, and any contingency plans in case things do not work out for the candidate as initially planned. For example, Fritzie plans to initially live with a friend, but also presented an alternative plan which includes a brief stay in a hotel, and then the rental of an apartment.
- Language. French and English can both be important, but the emphasis is on French. When an applicant claims a higher level of French and English, more complex questions in these respective languages can be expected. The more that an applicant is able to converse in French, the more the interview will be conducted in French.
It is important to note that after December 5th, 2011 all applications must include the results of standardized tests for French and/or English when claiming points for either language. More information is available from a previous CanadaVisa.com news article: Tests now required for language points under Quebec Skilled Worker program. Applicants should be aware that Quebec Immigration has the right to ask any applicant to submit French and/or English test results even if the application was received prior to December 5th, 2011.
At the interview, applicants are expected to bring the originals of all documentation submitted in support of the application including: statutory documents and documents in relation to education, work history, proof of research into Quebec and the Quebec job market, and how the applicant will establish him/herself once there.
Supporting documents are required for the applicant and any accompanying dependent. While an accompanying spouse must attend the interview along with the principle applicant, children under 22 are not required to attend.
- If the applicant works in a regulated profession then he/she should know the licensing process in the Province of Quebec. For example engineers are regulated by the l'Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec, or as in Fritzie’s case, nurses, by the Ordre des infirmières et des infirmiers du Québec.
The more one knows about their profession in Quebec the better. In some cases it may be possible to start the licensing process before arriving in Quebec. This is the case for engineers. For more information, see Recognizing engineer’s foreign credentials will get easier in Quebec with new online tool.
- The more advanced French skills an applicant has acquired by the time of the interview, the better. Remember that French tests can be taken multiple times, and better results can be submitted. Fritzie improved her French with private tutoring, and using a French mobile App from iTunes. Also, the applicant should remember to keep up his/her French ability from the submission of the application to the date of the interview because without practise French skills can deteriorate.
- If dependent children are a part of the application, the applicant is similarly expected to be well prepared for their integration into Quebec. This includes knowing that children of immigrants to Quebec must attend school in French, if they intend to attend publically funded schools and should include some research into schools they may attend in the neighbourhood where the applicant plans to settle.
Fritzie explained that there is more need for nurses like her in Quebec than in her native Philippines, where many nurses end up switching professions due to lack of demand. She offers the following advice for others who will go through the interview process for Quebec immigration to succeed like she did:
“Start early. As soon as you [submit] your application, begin studying about Quebec and the job market. Do it with dedication and commitment. Begin your French studies and continuously improve on it. Don't wait until you receive your interview date because cramming is not good. There are many things that you need to learn about Quebec, the job market and the language and you cannot squeeze it all in a matter of 1 month or 2. Claim that you will be a Quebecer someday. In this way, you will be fully motivated. I made sure that I had a file of the important details about Quebec, job market, applications, communication letters, etc, that I scanned several times before the interview.”
The above is just an overview of the preparation process candidates should undertake for the Quebec immigration selection interview. The more time put in, as Fritzie explained, especially towards learning French, about the province of Quebec, your job prospects, and financial and living arrangements once in Quebec, the better. Details such as learning about how to get a driver’s license and insurance, and proof of all of this research, can go a long way with the Quebec immigration officer towards proving applicants are serious about succeeding in a new life in Quebec.
Campbell Cohen provides a much more detailed and comprehensive interview preparation for its clients, as there are many more steps you can take to receive maximum points for each component of the adaptability evaluation. Also, a comprehensive documentation check list is provided for our clients as these will be verified by the Quebec immigration officer at the interview.