Immigration to Canada: Quebec opens doors for skilled workers

Flag of Quebec on the Quebec Government Office...
Flag of Quebec on the Quebec Government Office in Paris. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Three popular immigration streams, including investors and entrepreneurs, open for applicants

Positive news was announced for all who are interested in migrating to the French-speaking province of Quebec, Canada. Three of its popular immigration programmes will accept new applications this year.
The three programmes are the Quebec Skilled Worker Programme (QSWP), The Investor Programme (IP)and the Entrepreneur Programme (EP).
Quebec Skilled Workers Programme
With immediate effect, the QSWP programme has been extended to laud in another application year starting from April 1st, 2014. From this date to March 31st, 2015, 6500 applications will be accepted for review, committed the Government of Quebec.
Although the extension is good news for potential applicants, the new application year has a downside, as the intake cap has been reduced considerably; only last year the Quebec Government reserved space for a maximum number of 20,000 applicants through the same programme.
The high intake cap may have been an unrealistic one judging by the actual number of applicants. According to the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) 10,000 applicants were accepted for review over the past ten months. 
At the same time, the numbers prove that applicants will have to speed up their application process to be eligible for this years’ programme. As the number of applicants usually surges by the year, the 6500 intake cap may be reached before the end of the programme year.
Investor Programme
Although the QSWP officially opens for application one year round, application rounds are different for the much contested investor opportunity into the province. While thousands of applications are received throughout the year, the Quebec Government only accepts a limited number of applications in short interval periods. The nest such period is from September 8-19 this year.
Within these two weeks, 1750 applications will be accepted by the Quebec Government, with an intake cap of 1200 applicants per country. The intake cap does not apply to applicants who speak a high-intermediate level of French.
The intake cap of 1750 is the same as the last round of intake, which took place in August last year.  However, over 5000 applications were submitted for the programme, which makes the programme highly competitive.
For both programmes applicants are advised to be well prepared and anticipative to submit their application as soon as they are permitted to do this. About the IP, Canadian attorney and author of the CIC newsletter Davic Cohen says: “It goes without saying that, with such a short timeframe for submission, only those individuals who are completely prepared in advance will be successful.
“The Province of Quebec has always been a popular destination for immigrants, and the QSW program has been its most popular immigration program. In the past, there were relatively few restrictions in terms of how many applications would be accepted for review. The new cap means that prospective applicants must compete against the clock and against each other to make sure they secure a place in the queue,” he added.
A third route – the Entrepreneur Route or Self-Employment Route- has been opened for applications, although little is known about the opportunity at this point. The Government of Quebec has said to accept a maximum of 500 applications from entrepreneurs and self-employed persons, without mention of a time frame.
What are the criteria?
The QSWP is the most general immigration stream and comparable to the Federal Skilled Worker Programme. However, more lenient criteria are applied in the province.
Quebec applies a point-based system, in which considerable emphasis is placed on language. An applicant can receive a maximum of 22 points for language. Up to 16 points can be awarded for French proficiency, and up to 6 for English.
Furthermore, the applicant must have qualifications in one of the 114 professions on the Areas of Training List, which was last updated in August 2013. On the new list 146 occupations are mentioned, with emphasis on occupations in the field of nursing and engineering.
When the province highly requires work force in one field, more points will be awarded for relating qualifications. Area of training can be allocated 6-16 points.
Investors are eligible to apply for he IP if they are able to invest CAD800,000 (Dh2800,000) for 5 years, or make a one-time payment of CAD220,000 (Dh760,000) with a financing option.

In return for the investment the province will provide a Quebec Selection Certificate and that will be transferred into a permanent residency for the investor and his/her family on the federal level.

Other than the investment and language proficiency, the investor will need to demonstrate a net worth of at least CAD1.6 million (Dh5.53 million) and managerial experience. Further, per August 2013 a new fee structure applies, requiring an initial fee of CAD10,000 (Dh34,600).

When the application is accepted the applicant may be invited for a selection interview, in which the applicant will be asked about his intention to settle in Quebec, his management experience, his assets and their lawful aquisition.
Quebec applies its own rules and regulations relating to immigration, although the decision to grant residency is made on the federal level. It has historically been a popular alternative to the competitive federal immigration programmes, and more recently the overall intake of applications in Quebec outpaced the intake on the federal.
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