For individuals and families wishing to immigrate to the province Quebec through an economic program, the first step is to obtain a Quebec Selection Certificate/certificat de sélection du Québec (CSQ).
The Quebec Selection Certificate/certificat de sélection du Québec (CSQ) is a document issued by the Ministère de l’immigration, de la diversité et de l’inclusion (Ministry of Immigration, Diversity, and Inclusion, or MIDI) declaring that the holder has been selected to settle in Quebec. With a CSQ, the applicant can submit an application for Canadian permanent residence to the federal immigration authorities. Quebec can select immigrants according to its own criteria, but it cannot grant applicants a permanent residence visa. Therefore, the CSQ is not a permanent residence visa, nor can it be utilized for entry into Canada.
Note: Based on Quebec Immigration regulations that came into force August 2,2018, the validity duration for a CSQ is 24 months or until Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) makes a decision on a Canadian permanent residence application. All CSQs issued before August 2, 2018, maintain the previous validity duration of 36 months.
Quebec’s immigration programs
Candidates wishing to immigrate to Quebec through an economic program may apply for a CSQ through one of the following programs:
- Quebec Skilled Worker Program
- Programme de l’expérience québécoise (Quebec Experience Class, PEQ)
- Quebec Investor Program
- Quebec Entrepreneur Program
- Quebec Self-Employed Person Program
Each program has particular eligibility criteria that a potential applicant must meet in order to receive a CSQ. These criteria are based on factors that may include the individual’s civil status, work history, education history, language knowledge, family information, experience in Quebec, and financial assets.
Once a potential applicant believes that he or she is eligible for a particular program, he or she may submit an application for a CSQ to the MIDI. However, Quebec only receives applications for certain programs during designated intake periods. Depending on the program, the potential applicant may have to await the opening of an intake period in order to submit an application.
The federal application stage
After obtaining a CSQ, the applicant may then submit a separate application for permanent residence to the Canadian federal immigration authorities.
At this stage, as the applicant has already been selected for immigration by Quebec, the federal immigration authorities focus on criminal and medical background checks. Police clearance certificates and medical examination results are required at the federal application stage.
The federal immigration authorities also review the applicant’s travel history, and may ask for additional documentation to verify any of the information claimed in the application for CSQ. In some cases, an applicant may be called to interview.
Working in Quebec with a CSQ
Individuals in possession of a valid CSQ may work in Quebec without needing to secure a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) for the position. To learn more about CSQ-based work permits, click here.
Residing in Quebec without a CSQ
A CSQ is the first step in the process of permanent immigration to Quebec. For those wishing to reside in Quebec as a temporary foreign worker or as an international student, a CSQ is not required. In these situations, the potential applicant may require a Quebec Acceptance Certificate/certificat d’acceptation du Québec (CAQ).