Quebec Provides New Details on Expression of Interest Ranking System

Quebec released new information Wednesday that details how candidates in its new skilled worker Expression of Interest bank will be organized and ranked. The ranking system takes into consideration work experience in the United States, making Quebec’s the only immigration system in Canada that currently considers U.S. work experience when ranking candidates. Quebec Skilled Worker Program (QSWP) candidates who submit a profile to the program’s new Expression of Interest Bank will be classed in two groups — one group for candidates with a job offer or who are living in Quebec and meet specific criteria, and another for candidates living outside of Quebec. According to regulations published August 1, the first group is for candidates who: • have a job offer in Quebec; OR • are residing in Quebec with the principal goal of working and • have a work permit and an eligible degree from a Quebec educational institution; OR • have a work permit that is valid for 12 months or more, six-months of full-time work experience and are currently working full-time. This first group will be ranked on the basis of scores obtained under the following seven factors:
1. Age
2. Quebec diploma
3. Canadian or U.S. work experience
4. Proficiency in French
5. Knowledge of other languages
6. Education
7. A spouse or common-law partner’s education and proficiency in French. Candidates in this group will also receive points for the following “Skill Transferability” combinations:
1. Education combined with proficiency in French (either their own or, if applicable, their spouse’s — whichever score is highest);
2. Education combined with work experience in Canada or the US and proficiency in French;
3. Foreign work experience combined with proficiency in French; 4. Foreign work experience combined with work experience in Canada or the U.S. and proficiency in French. The second group is for candidates who do not reside in Quebec. Candidates in this group will be ranked based on scores obtained under the following eight factors: 1. Age 2. Quebec degree 3. Canadian or U.S. work experience
4. Training that Quebec has listed as in-demand
5. Proficiency in French
6. Knowledge of other languages
7. Education
8. A spouse or common-law partner’s education and proficiency in French. Candidates in this second group will also receive points for the Skill Transferability combinations listed above.
Quebec has not detailed the points structure for the various factors and skills combinations. The regulations state that Quebec’s Ministry of Immigration (MIDI) could issue invitations to apply for a Quebec Selection Certificate (Certificat de sélection du Québec, or CSQ) to the highest scoring candidates or based on selection criteria or conditions that are deemed a priority. Revisions to Quebec’s Immigration Act say invitations could be issued based on “criterion relating to a foreign national’s ability to successfully stay or settle in Quebec, such as training or a trade or occupation.” Other criteria may include “a region of destination in Québec, a country or region affected by a humanitarian crisis or the existence of an international commitment.” Candidates who receive an invitation to apply for a CSQ and submit an application will need to meet the passing scores required for the program based on the QSWP Points Grid. Express Entry? Sort of There are clear similarities between the ranking structure for Quebec’s Expression of Interest Bank and the federal Express Entry system, and also some important differences. The Express Entry pool consists of candidates in the Federal Skilled Worker Class, Federal Skilled Trades Class, and the Canadian Experience Class. Express Entry holds regular invitation rounds, generally one every two weeks, and last year invited more than 86,000 candidates to apply for Canadian permanent residence. Like Quebec, candidates for all three classes managed by Express Entry are ranked based on core human capital factors and Skill Transferability combinations, with additional points awarded for a Canadian job offer, a provincial nomination, a sibling in Canada, Canadian education or French language proficiency.
Additional points range from 15 points to 600 points for a provincial nomination and help fast-track candidates for permanent residence. For the moment, the ranking details outlined by Quebec do not include such additional factors. However, the division of QSWP candidates into two groups depending on whether they have a Quebec job offer, education in Quebec or Quebec work experience could have a similar fast-track effect.
This division of Quebec Skilled Worker Program candidates into two groups could result in something similar to Express Entry‘s program-specific draws, which are limited to one group of candidates, ie Federal Skilled Trades Class or Provincial Nominees. Based on what we know so far Quebec’s EOI system, one major difference between it and the federal Express Entry system could be transparency. “Invitations through Express Entry are based on a candidate’s score, whereas Quebec’s EOI system has much more discretion built into it,” says Attorney David Cohen, senior attorney with the Campbell Cohen Canadian immigration law firm. “This leaves MIDI potentially free to select candidates who meet specific labor needs in the province. Whether those needs will be specified when candidates are invited remains to be seen.”


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