The different professional visas in Quebec

work permit
Updated 2019-05-27 12:45

Quebec is a land of immigration, and the Quebec government seeks to attract a skilled and francophone workforce every year. There are several options available to you if you want to settle in Quebec.  

To work in Quebec, you must, once there, ask for your Social Insurance Number (SIN), which is a personal identification number that is essential for taking up a job, opening a bank account and registering with the tax authorities. You cannot claim your SIN outside Canada. To obtain this one, you must go to your local Service Canada Center with your passport and proof of your status in Canada. Your SIN number will be given to you directly at the counter. The process is free of charges.

For more information about the SIN and how to obtain it, visit the Service Canada Center website.

Good to know :

Most applicants for permanent residence, visitor visas, study permits and work permits must henceforward provide their biometric data. Individuals who are already in Canada and wish to apply for permanent residence or extend their permit will not have to do so until collection centres open in the country (in 2019).

Permanent resident visa

The permanent resident status allows you to settle in the province for an unlimited period. It provides unrestricted access to the labour market and guarantees its holders the same rights as Quebec nationals regarding health, social benefits, education and employment.

However, Permanent residence does not authorise voting or occupying some jobs that require a high level of security clearance. Even with permanent residence, you will not be able to remain in Canada if you are convicted of a serious criminal offence.

Procedure for obtaining a permanent resident visa

The procedure for obtaining a permanent resident visa depends on your profile. For more information, you can fill in a self-assessment questionnaire on the website of the Ministry of Immigration, Diversity and Inclusion of Quebec (MIDI).

1 ' Program of the Quebec experience

If you have obtained a Quebec diploma or are in the process of getting one, or have been working full-time in Quebec for at least 12 months, you can apply for a Quebec Selection Certificate (CSQ) through the Quebec Experience Program (PEQ). This CSQ will then allow you to apply for permanent residence at the federal level. It will also allow you to stay in Quebec after the expiry of your current permit, provided that you have a valid job offer.
The PEQ is a simplified program for access to permanent residence: you should get your CSQ within 20 working days. For a list of documents to provide, visit the website of the Quebec Ministry of Immigration, Diversity and Inclusion. For the Quebec graduate component, note that only certain degrees are eligible: bachelor's degree, master's degree, doctorate, technical DEC, DEP of at least 1800 hours, DEP ASP of at least 1800 cumulative hours. Holders of any other degree, such as a university certificate, must pass through the Regular Skilled Worker Program.

2 ' Regular skilled workers program

To apply for permanent residence through the Quebec Regular Skilled Worker Program, applicants may submit a declaration of interest on the Arrima Portal at any time. This procedure is free of charge and the declaration will remain valid for 12 months. The Quebec government then selects the candidates who have submitted a declaration of interest based on the labour requirements in the Province and the profiles of the candidates. French-speaking candidates and those whose profile corresponds to the job market will be favoured. The selection is therefore based on a grid of factors and criteria to which a score is associated. You will be awarded points for each of the applicable factors and selection criteria. These factors and criteria include, for example, age, educational level, French experience, previous stays in Quebec, etc.

You will then have to wait until you are invited by the authorities to submit a request for permanent selection. If you receive an invitation, you will then have 90 days to send the required documents and pay the fees for the review of your application. Your request for selection may be accepted based on your file, but you may also be asked to attend an interview. Be aware that you will need to send your diplomas, your civil status documents, proof of employment and proof of your level of French. All documents that are written in a language other than English or French must be accompanied by a translation by a recognised translator.

Good to know:

The processing fee for a CSQ application via PEQ is 785 $ CDN for the principal applicant and 168 $ CDN for the spouse, common-law partner and each child of the principal applicant. For an application made through the Regular Program, this fee is 798 $ CDN for the principal applicant and 171 $ CDN for the spouse, common-law partner and each child of the principal applicant (January 2019).

3 'Permanent VISA

After being selected by Quebec, you will have to go through the final step of the immigration process: that of admission by the Canadian federal government. It is at this point that you will apply for your permanent resident visa.

You will attach to your visa application your CSQ as well as supporting documents such as medical certificates, an extract of a criminal record for each country in which you have lived more than six months and the payment of fees of 550 $ CDN. Additional fees of 490 $ CAD will be demanded to obtain permanent resident status in Canada. Note that the permanent selection decision by Quebec is valid for 24 months or until a decision has been made at the federal level.

Once all these steps have been performed, and upon acceptance by the Canadian federal government, you can have your visa stamped on your passport directly at the Canadian Embassy in your region or send it by mail; the embassy will return it to you by post. Citizens of some countries that have an agreement with Canada, such as France, do not need a visa and simply receive a letter called "Confirmation of Permanent Residence".

Once you have obtained the permanent resident status, you will receive your permanent resident card at your address in Canada. Note that you will have 180 days to send your address to CIC once you arrive in Canada. If you exceed this time, you will have to pay a fee of 50 $ CDN and apply for a new card. The permanent resident card, valid for five years, is a piece of identification in itself. A fee of 50 $ CAD applies for its renewal. For more information, visit the Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

Temporary work permit

To apply for a temporary work visa in Quebec, you must first obtain a work contract in the province. To avoid competing with Canadians in the local labour market, the Human Resources Department (HRD) of the company that wants to hire you must have the job offer certified by the Canadian Department of Human Resources and conduct a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). Both procedures are subject to a fee.

The company that wishes to employ you must post the job offer on the Emploi Québec website so that local workers can eventually come forward. If the response to the LMIA is favourable, the foreign candidate will have to apply for temporary selection from the Ministry of Immigration, Diversity and Inclusion of Quebec (MIDI). This application costs 199 $ CDN.

Once you get your temporary selection, you must send your application for a work permit by post to the federal office in Vegreville, Alberta or submit an online application on the CIC website. If you are already in Quebec, you can obtain it directly from the immigration office in an inlet passage within Canada.

Good to know:

An employer who wishes to hire you will be exempt from LMIA if you have obtained a CSQ for permanent residence or a young professional permit. Besides, some professions are exempt from work permits (athletes, journalists, etc.). The list of these professions is available on the CIC website.

The WHV - Working Holiday Visa

The WHV Canada is a temporary and open work permit that offers the opportunity for nationals of 30 countries to work in Canada. This program is based on International Experience Canada (IEC), which provides young people with work experience in Canada. Note that it is not necessary to have a job offer to benefit from this program.

To obtain a WHV, you must register online in the IEC pool of candidates and wait for the opening of a round of invitation by the Canadian government. You can only apply if the Canadian government pulls your name out and invites you to do so.

Since November 2014, the duration of the WHV Canada is 24 months. Candidates from the UK, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Switzerland, South Africa and Ukraine may participate in the IEC program. The conditions may differ depending on the nationality of the applicant.

To prepare your application file, you must provide the following documents: a photocopy of the passport, a cover letter, a CV, four passport-type photos and a financial certificate certifying that you will be able to provide for your needs up to 2,500 $ CDN.

If you wish to work in a hospital or educational environment, a medical examination may be required. Then mail your application to the Canadian Embassy in your country or to the visa office that covers your geographical area. The processing times are variable, usually between three and eight weeks.

If your application is accepted, submit the letter of acceptance you received to the Immigration authorities upon arrival in Canada. Immigration agents will also ask you for the certificate of health, hospitalisation and repatriation insurance that you must absolutely do before departure. You may also be asked to present a return flight ticket.

Finally, note that the Working Holiday Visa is not renewable: you can apply for it only once. However, if you have applied for a Working Holiday Visa for less than one year and wish to extend it, apply for it at least 30 days before the expiry date of the permit from immigration services.
In January 2019 an administration fee of 250 $ CDN became applicable for a WHV application.

The young professional permit

The young professional permit is a closed work permit for French, Swiss and Spanish between the age of 18 and 35 who hold a job offer from a Canadian employer. The position must be related to their field of study or their professional background. To obtain a Young Professional permit, you will need to register in the IEC Pool of Candidates, as for a WHV, and wait until you are randomly selected and receive an invitation to apply. Your employer will have to create a profile on the employer portal, create a job offer, pay a compliance fee of 230 $ and give you the number of the job offer because you will have to include it in your application after receiving an invitation. If you receive an invitation, you will also have to pay a fee of 150 $. Note that the young professional permit does not allow you to change employers as you see fit. As for the WHV, you will have to subscribe to a 24-month medical-hospitalization-repatriation insurance, which is the maximum duration of the young professional permit.

Useful links:

Website of the Canadian Immigration
Canadian Embassies
Immigration Québec - Temporary Employment in Quebec
International Experience Canada

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