Work permits in Quebec, the puzzle of acronyms!
If I were a scientist, I would have been proud to master a chemical or mathematical sequence code by seeing EIMT CAQ CSQ PEQ C10 RP! Alas, I have never been scientifically minded and have never possessed a memory for numbers, letters and associated shapes!
However, for those who know how work permits work in Quebec, this code or rather sequence of acronyms allows to understand at first sight that we are talking about a work permit that would have been issued initially on a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMI) and a Quebec Acceptance Certificate (QAC), that the employee would then have received his CSQ (Certificat de sélection du Québec) under the PEQ (Programme de l’expérience québécoise) and that he will then be able to obtain an extension of his work permit on a C10 exemption for the duration of the processing of his permanent residence (PR) but with a permit limited to 2 years!
Didn’t you understand? It is normal if you do not do the work permit procedures on a daily basis. It is like the prescription that your doctor writes, which for him is very obvious but for you is less so; it is to cure the disease that it must treat and you don’t care about the jargon registered!
The work permit in Quebec and Canada
In Canada, to work, you need an authorization from the federal government. Therefore, depending on the type of employment and the duration, a work permit will be issued to the candidate. Sometimes and depending on the profession, there are exemptions to the work permit that allow the person to work while holding a visitor’s permit; this is the case for priests, reporters, diplomats for example. This is a separate category but it allows you to do many things in the long run.
A work permit is issued if the arrival of a foreign candidate will not harm the Canadian labour market. Therefore, the employer must ensure that it obtains pre-approvals by filing a Labour Market Impact
Assessment (LMI). Since we are in Quebec and the province has a privileged situation in terms of Immigration Law, through the Canada-Quebec agreement on Immigration and Temporary Admission of Aliens dating back to 1991, Quebec also has a say in the admission of this foreign worker by issuing a Quebec Acceptance Certificate (QAC).
It is a complex procedure with very strict criteria, fees and of course a healthy management of your time dedicated to the preparations and often, when it is the first time, you will find yourself asking a multitude of questions that will often remain unanswered. This is normal, don’t worry!
Once the EIMT and the CAQ are issued, the candidate, i.e. the future employee, can apply for a work permit. He can do so either at the port of entry or at the border upon arrival in Canada if he is a citizen of a country where a visa is not required. If this is not the case, an application for a multiple-entry visa and a work permit must be filed with the Bureau des visas à l’étranger in order to receive the appropriate authorizations and allow the person to come.
How long does it take? Yes and no. Yes, if the person needs to apply for a visa; no if the applicant is from a non-visa country and all the documents are in order! It takes between 2 to 6 months depending on the procedure.
The little things to know are that you do not have the right to make a mistake when applying for an EIMT and CAQ. You cannot apply for a reconsideration, let alone ask for a favor. As for the request for an administrative review, that’s another story! However, once the work permit has been issued, your candidate has a work permit on EIMT and CAQ. And here are our first 2 acronyms in order!
As an aside, there are also several types of work permits that are issued upon exemption from the EIMT and CAQ. The list is long and we will save some types for future articles. That said, we will still see the C10!
CSQ and PEQ
So to follow our reasoning, if your candidate works 12 months full-time (30h min. per week), in a specialized profession and communicates orally in French at an advanced intermediate level, he/she can apply for the CSQ. This is the Quebec Selection Certificate, which is a prerequisite for obtaining federal permanent residence (PR).
This CSQ will be issued within the framework of the PEQ, the Quebec experience program administered by the MIDI (Ministère de l’immigration, de la Diversité et de l’Inclusion). Please note that this application is only done in paper format and in our case, we are talking about the Foreign Worker component (because there is a variant for International Students). If the file is well prepared, the CSQ will arrive within a month!
Be careful at this stage as well because a CSQ does not give any right to maintain the status of the candidate as a worker. I would like to remind you that this is only a pre-requisite for any applicant for permanent residence in Quebec.
This week, a person informed me that after calling the MIDI, the agent on the phone would have told her that she had to file her CSQ/PEQ application through the new portal Mon projet Québec. I say it loud and clear: this is a wrong information because this famous portal only concerns the CSQ applicants, qualified workers, who would use the selection grid to be selected. Moreover, at the time of writing, this portal is experiencing serious technical difficulties that have no head or tail.
Here is the explanation for the CSQ and PEQ part; let’s move on!
If the work permit that was obtained on EIMT/CAQ (or on exemption) is about to expire and the candidate has already obtained his CSQ (or is going to obtain it), he can apply for a work permit on exemption for persons holding a CSQ. The code used by the CIC is C10.
How does the C10 work?
This exemption is one that is generally granted to any person who applies and who has an exceptional profile with a significant economic or socio-cultural benefit to Canada. So what does this have to do with a CSQ holder? Quite simply, the C10 is also a catch-all that allows the Federal Immigration Department to pull out little bonuses like this. Take advantage of it.
Therefore, in order to extend his work permit, since our candidate has his CSQ, he will be able to apply for a new work permit, or even change employers. However, there are rules that, if not applied, can have unfortunate consequences.
For example, the applicant must still have a legal status as a worker at the time of the application for a work permit under C10 (CSQ holder), with a work permit still valid or, in implied status (ahhhh, this famous implied status that gives me white hair so much confusion in people’s minds!) On the other hand, you must not mix the transitional permit with the procedure I am talking about. The transitional permit does not apply in Quebec.
And finally, the employer must assume its responsibilities to proceed with the compliance of the job offer, by creating an account on the CIC employer portal and paying the $230 fee required; a fee that has nothing to do with the one that will be paid by the employee to obtain the work permit that he will get afterwards!
And here is also all that part of the jargon elucidated: C10 and RP. You have understood that PR is permanent residence. The work permit on exemption that will be issued to the candidate will be for a maximum of 2 years; so, a little advice from me to you. If you don’t want your employee to be sitting between 2 chairs, make sure they file their permanent residency application quickly, otherwise you will have to apply for another EIMT and CAQ if the review of their file is not completed beyond those 2 years.
So, now that you have cleared your mind and understand these acronyms and the order presented, I think you are one step closer to understanding these procedures but, do you know what these procedures are?
Selin Deravedisyan-Adam, CRIC