Quebec changes skilled worker language criteria

The Government of Quebec has officially announced changes to its language rules for immigration through the Quebec Skilled Worker (QSW) programme.

Applicants applying to the province through the skilled worker stream can now receive up to a maximum of 22 points for language skills. Up to 16 points will be awarded for French proficiency and up to six for English.

French language points will be assessed on a scale from A1 (beginner) to C2 (advanced/fluent).

Previously, points could be claimed for any level of proficiency in listening and speaking, beginning with 1 point for A1 level and a maximum of 8 points for a C1 or C2 level of proficiency.

Under the new rules, no points will be awarded until the B2 (advanced intermediate) level is met. In addition, applicants will now have the opportunity to earn bonus points for reading and writing proficiency. Up to one point can be earned in each of these categories.

The English requirement level (measured from 1 to 12) has also changed, with no points being awarded until level 5 is reached.

It is important to note that applicants will not be disqualified for possessing language abilities not deemed to be at least ‘advanced intermediate’ level. The QSW application is assessed on a points system, and it is possible for an applicant to achieve sufficient points without being awarded points for their language skills.

In addition to modifying the language criteria, the government has also announced its intent to institute a cap on yearly application intake and hinted that it will publish a new list of areas of training/fields of study.

Currently, applicants to the skilled worker stream of the QSW must have training in one of 110 areas of training/fields of study. This list corresponds to occupations the government has identified as in-demand in the Quebec.

If the plans are approved, an annual application intake cap of 20,000 will be introduced to the QSW programme.

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Quebec is the only province in Canada to administer an immigration programme which is completely separate from the federal system.