You might be familiar with the Canadian immigration process, but how much do you know about immigration in Québec? Québec has been crucial to Canada’s national identity for hundreds of years. Ever since the 1600s, Québec has been a predominantly French settlement. Even today, more than 95% of its inhabitants speak the language. In fact, a vast majority of its population considers itself Québécois first, Canadian second.
Not only does Québec have its own culture and identity, but it also has its own immigration policies. Programs like Express Entry and Provincial Nomination do not apply to Québec, as it has its own programs in place. Here we will explain the immigration process in Québec, should you choose to live in this beautiful place.
AN OVERVIEW AND PREREQUISITES
Before diving into details, a simple overview would help. Immigration in Québec is in essence a 2-step process. Immigrants must first receive a Québec Certificate of Selection (CSQ). This is done through one of the province’s immigration programs, which we will soon discuss. With the CSQ, candidates can apply for Permanent Residency with the IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada).
The biggest part of this process is receiving your CSQ. There are many different routes available to do this, and not all of them will work for you. These programs are called the Québec Skilled Worker Program, the Québec Business Immigration, and the Québec Experience Program. We will break down each of these programs so that you can get an idea of what works for you.
QUÉBEC SKILLED WORKER PROGRAM
This program is for individuals with work experience and skills that can benefit Québec’s economy. This program selects candidates that are expected to find work easily and adapt well economically in the province. Like Express Entry, this program uses a points system to rank its individuals. Your first step would be to apply through the Arrima portal. Keep in mind that this option is only open to those who are over 18 years old.
If you are selected, you will be able to enter the program. Here you will receive a score based on a variety of factors. These include your age, your French language skills and your education. Another important factor is how easily you can find a job in Québec. This means that job offers, a degree from the province, and work experience in the province will boost your scores. Another thing to consider is that you can gain points if your occupation is in high demand.
Unlike Express Entry, which does not provide a clear cut-off score, this program requires a minimum of 50 points. If you choose to come with your spouse, keep in mind that this will raise the cut-off to 59 points. However, your spouse can gain extra points based on their own credentials. Children will also provide additional points to your total.
QUÉBEC BUSINESS IMMIGRATION
This program is for wealthy individuals who can directly contribute to Québec’s economy. There are 3 different subprograms in this category. These are called the Investor, Entrepreneur, and Self-Employed Programs. Each caters to different people, so we will quickly explain them here:
The Québec Immigrant Investor Program is currently suspended until at least April of 2023. Individuals applying to this program must have a net worth of at least $2 million. These candidates are expected to either own and operate a business or have a high-management position. They are also expected to invest $1.2 million in a passive investment guaranteed by the government over a period of 5 years.
The Québec Immigrant Entrepreneur Program is for individuals looking to create or buy a business in Québec. Candidates should have a minimum net worth of $900,000, either individually or with their spouse if applicable. There are two different options in this program. The first is to create a business and find support from a business incubator or a similar firm. The other is to buy an existing business and control at least 51% of the enterprise. Another alternative is to create a new business and hold 25% of it.
Lastly, the Québec Immigrant Self-Employed Program is almost self-explanatory. Candidates must have two years of experience in a self-employed trade that they wish to practice in the province. This program requires a start-up deposit. If the individual is based in Montreal, the deposit is $50,000, while it lowers to $25,000 outside of that area.
QUÉBEC EXPERIENCE PROGRAM
The last program is focused on international students and temporary foreign workers. These two paths have different requirements. If you choose to study in Québec, you must have graduated before applying to this program. You also need to have at least a year of work experience and intermediate to advanced French skills.
Temporary foreign workers must have been working for 2 of the 3 years before applying. This work experience must also be at NOC level 0, A, or B. You can find the NOC level of your occupation here. Candidates are also required to have level 7 French skills and be at least 18 years old. Lastly, they must prove that they can provide for themselves and their accompanying family for at least 3 months.
IS QUÉBEC THE PROVINCE FOR ME?
Québec is an excellent place to live. Canada owes much of its national identity to this francophone province. However, every person is different and what works for one person might not work for you. Every province has advantages and disadvantages, presenting immigrants with many difficult choices to make. If you are interested in migrating to Canada, you can book a consultation with Gentium. We can analyze what options work best for you based on your circumstances and make a plan that suits your needs. Who knows? Quebec could be your future home.