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Quebec's special immigration program for international students and foreign workers

The province of Quebec is launching its own accelerated and simplified immigration program for international students and specialized foreign workers who meet labour market needs in the province. This move is in line with Citizenship and Immigration's Canadian Experience Class program introduced last year. The new regulations announced by Quebec Immigration Minister, Yolande James, addresses the importance of attracting and retaining foreign skilled workers and international students for Quebec's economic growth.

There are two components to the new regulations: a new fast-track immigration program for foreign students and workers in Quebec, which should come into effect in July; and proposed new regulations to simplify the selection of economic class applicants by removing some preliminary processing as well as the "Adaptability" factor in the selection grid for Quebec Skilled Workers.

There are three categories of applicants that will be affected: international students, specialized temporary workers and those who are applying from abroad who have training/experience in occupations that are considered in high-demand by the province of Quebec.

The first two apply to Quebec immigration candidates who are already in Quebec as international students or foreign workers. Eligible candidates will be issued a Certificate of Selection of Québec (CSQ), Quebec's nomination certificate.They will also receive priority processing for immigration to Canada.

International Students: To qualify, international students must have obtained a secondary school vocational diploma, a diploma of college studies in a technical program, or a university diploma attesting to a bachelor's degree, a master's degree, or a doctorate from an educational institution recognized by the Quebec Ministry of Education.To be recognized, these studies must have been completed in French or the applicants must have completed at least one year of full-time studies in French at the secondary or post-secondary level or have successfully completed a level B1 French course at a Quebec educational institution.

Candidates may apply from abroad if they have obtained their diploma in Quebec no more than 24 months before the new regulations come into effect.

Specialized temporary workers: To qualify, foreign workers must be lawfully in Quebec at the time of application submission.They must have had full-time employment in Quebec in a skilled occupation for a period of at least 12 months in the 24 months preceding the date of application.

These categories of applicants are also subject to a French language requirement.They must have pursued full-time studies for at least one year at the secondary or post-secondary level, or have taken a level B1 French course at a Quebec educational institution.On the other hand, an applicant can submit documentation with their application, certifying that they meet the French language requirements of a professional order, or that they have received satisfactory results on a standardized French language test.

Quebec immigration applicants whose profiles correspond to the province's occupations that are short of workers:Qualified Quebec immigration applicants who have training and/or experience in occupations that are considered in high-demand by the province of Quebec will have their immigration applications fast-tracked. Quebec's labour market is in need of applicants at all skills levels, therefore, applicants with training and/or experience in Quebec's in-demand occupations have the best employment prospects and will receive priority processing.

Quebec Immigration has issued a "List of Preferred Areas of Training". As of October 14, 2009, qualified applicants who have received a diploma listed on this document in the past five years before submitting their application will receive priority processing. The list can be accessed here:



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