Quebec has its own programs and criteria for foreign skilled workers hoping to settle in the province.
Quebec has a unique status in Canada, with specific provisions and powers in place to protect its distinct culture and language. Although the Canadian Constitution states that immigration falls under both federal and provincial power, Quebec has more immigration authority than any other province. In 1968, Quebec launched its own immigration ministry.
Today, Quebec, unlike the rest of Canada, has complete control over the permanent residents, study permit and work permit holders that it admits into the province. Quebec has the power to determine its own immigration targets and select candidates based on its own criteria and procedures. In addition, employers in Quebec are also subject to certain distinct procedures when hiring a foreign worker.
Quebec Skilled Workers
A skilled worker can immigrate to Quebec through one of the following programs:
- Quebec Skilled Worker Program (QSWP)
- Quebec Experience Class (PEQ)
The QSWP is for foreign skilled workers who wish to immigrate to Quebec. They must declare their interest in immigrating to the province by submitting an expression of interest (EOI) through an online platform called Arrima. Candidates are scored on factors such as age, education, language skills and work experience. The Ministry of Immigration, Francization and Integration will select top scoring candidates from the pool and invite them to apply for permanent selection.
The PEQ is an option for foreign graduates and candidates with work experience in Quebec. The goal of the program is to help employers hire foreigners who have already settled and are well-integrated into the province.
Quebec Selection Certificate
The Quebec Selection Certificate (CSQ) is administered by the Ministry of Immigration, Francization and Integration, and it affirms that the foreign national has been selected to settle in Quebec. With a CSQ, the candidate can apply for Canadian permanent residence to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
Candidates who are chosen under the QSWP and the PEQ are issued a CSQ and can then apply for permanent residence.
Temporary Foreign Worker Options
Foreign nationals can come to Canada to work through two pathways: the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) and the International Mobility Program (IMP).
The TFWP allows Canadian employers to respond to the labour shortage needs in the country by hiring internationally, while also ensuring that Canadian citizens and permanent residents are prioritized for job openings.
The IMP exists to promote Canada’s economic, social, and cultural policy objectives. Not only does it help address labour market needs, but it allows foreign workers to come to Canada and strengthen ties with the global community and promote art, culture, sports and religion in Canada.
The TFWP requires the completion of the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), while the IMP does not. An LMIA is a document that demonstrates that the hiring of the foreign worker will have a positive or neutral impact to the Canadian labour market. A temporary work permit and a LMIA are required before a foreign worker can begin worker in Canada with a TFWP.
If a Quebec employer wants to hire a foreign skilled worker on a Temporary Work Permit, they must get a Quebec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ) in addition to an LMIA.
The CAQ certifies that the Ministry of Immigration, Francization and Integration is in accordance with the LMIA assessment that the hiring of the foreign worker will have a positive or neutral effect on the province’s labour market. Jobs that are LMIA-exempt do not require a CAQ.
If you want to hire a foreign worker
The Quebec Immigration Ministry releases a list of occupations that are eligible for facilitated LMIA processing. The process is considered facilitated because the labor shortages are proven, allowing the Quebec employers to hire foreign workers more quickly as they do not have to demonstrate that there were no eligible Canadian workers to fill the role.
The Quebec government has simplified the hiring of temporary foreign workers who have a valid CSQ, allowing them to be exempt from the requirement to apply for a LMIA. Employers can avoid the requirement for an LMIA if they are hiring a foreign worker who:
- Has a valid work permit;
- Holds a CSQ;
- Currently resides in Quebec;
- And has applied for permanent residency under the Quebec Skilled Worker Program.
The foreign worker must also meet one of the following requirements:
- Is seeking to extend the work permit for their current employer;
- Is seeking to renew the work authorization with a new employer within Quebec;
- Is a foreign student who has a post-graduation work permit and a validated job offer in Quebec; or
- Is participating in a program within the International Experience Canada (IEC) program and wants to either extend the work authorization for their current employer or renew it for a new employer in Quebec.