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System of Expressions of Interest for Professionals in Quebec: New details released Immigration

The new EOI system promises to reduce processing time to less than 12 months

Quebec has published further details on its new system of expression of interest, which will be used to manage the profiles of eligible Quebec Skilled Worker Program candidates.

The new Expression of Interest (EOI) system replaces Quebec's current First Come First Served application process for the Quebec Skilled Worker Program (QSWP) and the troubled Mon Projet Quebecapplication portal.

According to the newly published rules, which come into force on August 2, anyone interested in the QSWP must first submit an online profile to the Quebec Department of Interests (MIDI) on-line.

Determination of eligibility

As a first step, anyone 18 years of age or older can submit a profile to the QSWP Expression of Interest Bank. Profiles in the bank receive a rating based on factors such as work experience, education and training, French or English proficiency, financial independence and other factors. To be considered, all profiles must meet the required minimum score of two points in education (general school diploma) and receive the point awarded for financial self-sufficiency.

The points awarded for most QSWP selection factors are the same as those of the current QSWP point grid except for a validated employment offer, which increases from a maximum of 10 points to 14 points. Some variables under the "Stay and Family in Quebec" factor are also weighted differently, although the maximum available points remain below the factor 8.

Selection factors for the Quebec Skilled Worker Program

In a second step, profiles that meet the initial requirements for education and financial self-sufficiency must meet the minimum required score of 43 points for a group of factors called employability, based on a candidate's education and training score. Work experience, age, language skills, length of stay in Quebec and family in Quebec plus a validated job offer. A job offer is an added bonus, but not required to qualify for the QSWP.

The enrollment deadline for candidates with a spouse or partner is 52. In addition to the six factors mentioned above, the additional factor for spouse education and training, work experience and language proficiency are also taken into account.

In the third step, candidates who reach the minimum employability threshold must reach the minimum threshold for a group of factors called Selection. This corresponds to a minimum score of 50 points (59 points for a spouse or partner). This step takes into account the points awarded under the six employability factors, with the addition of children and financial self-sufficiency. In such cases, the education, professional experience and language skills of a spouse or partner will also be applied under applicable law.

Invitations are not necessarily based on score

It is important to note that reaching the minimum threshold of 50 points in the selection process does not necessarily mean that a candidate is invited to apply for a Quebec Selection Certificate (CSQ Certificate).

Invitations can be issued to the highest scoring candidates. However, detailed changes to the Quebec Immigration Act indicate that other selection criteria or conditions may apply. Section 44 of the updated law states that "a criterion for a foreigner's ability to successfully reside or settle in Quebec, such as training or a trade or employment", may be invitations. Other criteria may include: "a region of destination in Quebec, a country or region affected by a humanitarian crisis, or the existence of an international commitment."

Quebec's Immigration Minister David Heurtel said in media interviews that candidates with work experience in occupations identified as having bottlenecks in the outskirts of Quebec could be placed on the front line for selection under the new system.

The Liberal government of Quebec has come up with a reformed immigration system as the key to overcoming the shortage of workers, claiming that up to a million jobs could remain unoccupied in the next 10 years.

Candidates who are invited to apply for a CSQ have 90 days to submit their application.

According to Heurtel, the processing times for CSQ applications will be reduced to less than 12 months by QSWP applicants under the new system. This is a welcome change from the 32-month processing period that 2017 applications received in 2017 faced earlier this year.

Anyone who receives a CSQ can apply to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for a permanent residency.

The EOI advantage and disadvantage

Candidates who did not qualify for the cap-exempt status after the QSWP were only able to apply for the outgoing first-come-first-served model at certain times of the year – and only until a fixed quota was reached ,

Now anyone 18 years or older can submit an EOI profile at any time.

The possibility that Quebec may favor certain applications over others is a potential disadvantage of moving away from a first-come-first-served system to ensure that all accepted applications receive a fair turnaround.

David Heurtel recently said on Twitter that the new system will help make the Québec immigration process better, with a view to the province's economy.

"The Government of Quebec is implementing an up-to-date immigration system that is effective and performance-oriented. A system more in line with the real needs of Quebec society and its labor market, "Heurtel tweeted in French.

The Liberal government of Quebec has come up with a reformed immigration system as the key to overcoming the shortage of workers, claiming that up to a million jobs could remain unoccupied in the next 10 years.

While immigration to other Canadian provinces and territories is regulated jointly with the Canadian federal government, Quebec's immigration system is largely independent and relies only on the Canadian government to approve the candidate that elects them for a temporary or permanent residence.

Changes to the Quebec Experience Class are also planned

Quebec also revealed two significant changes to another of its economic immigration programs, the Quebec Experience Program (PEQ).

The PEQ is open to eligible applicants who have recently obtained a valid diploma from a recognized school in Quebec or have 12 months of provincial experience in the last 24 months and are currently working full time in Quebec.

In accordance with the existing PEQ requirements, candidates had to have professional experience in occupations classified as O, Level A, or Level B qualification according to the National Occupational Classification (NOC) of Canada.

This requirement has now been removed, which means that candidates in qualifications level C and level D may also be eligible to apply for CSQ through the Quebec Experience Program.

In another major change to the PEQ, Quebec will now allow the accompanying spouses and common law partners of eligible candidates who work in Quebec on open work permits to present themselves as prime applicants for CSQ applications.

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