I’m an American, a Californian no less, who’d like to move to Montreal early next year. How difficult is it to immigrate across our border?
First off, where do you fit in on thistest? If you don’t qualify for immigration into Canada, you won’t qualify for Québec, which adds an additional language requirement. Do you speak French?
A relative is going through the process to gain permanent residency. There are quite a few hoops to jump through, but it is easier than the corresponding process to come to the States.
Yes, passing the French test was a major milestone. Among other things, it allows her to claim to be bilingual on job applications and so forth.
AFAIK, if you can qualify to immigrate, say, to Vancouver, then the next day you can get on a plane and fly to Montreal. And vice versa. Once you are in, you are in.
Incidentally, an American can get a work permit at the border for, I think, year, without immigrating.
Canada needs immigrants and Quebec most of all, to pay the retirements benefits to all us old farts. Quebec has complete authority to admit immigrants. The Quebec birth rate has dropped from, oh about 8 per woman in the early 20th century to about 1.5 as the church has lost nearly all authority over the lives of people. (A man having 25 children was not unheard of, although he ran through two or three women in the process.) So if you can pass a French exam and are unlikely to be indigent, it is probably relatively easy. But costly. When I immigrated in 1968, there were no costs. When my son (who is a Canadian/US dual citizen) came here for a year in 1995-96, it would have cost his wife $1500 to become an immigrant. As it was she just got a temporary residence permit.
Incidentally, she is from southern California and was very unpleasantly surprised by winter.
I’ve always wondered about this. I understand that Quebec has its own set of immigration requirements (mentioned here for example) and make their own decision regarding permanent residency applications. Are there any legal restrictions that would prevent someone from working around the system and just moving after getting into the country?
You can certainly travel to Quebec easily enough. But getting provincial benefits like a Quebec health card (say) might be a different matter.
My understanding is that Quebec has its own immigration policy with its own criteria for admission. (For the record, every Canadian province can establish its rules for immigration; Quebec is just the only one to have done so.) This said, there are no barriers to interprovincial migration, so someone who is a legal resident of Canada can move to another province and establish residency there without difficulty. This is not considered a major problem, but it’s understood that the Quebec ministry of Immigration chooses people who can best integrate into Quebec society, which is not necessarily the case with the Canadian ministry of Immigration.
I moved to Quebec a couple months ago, after living in Ontario for my entire life. I haven’t updated my health card yet. Are they going to require me to demonstrate some comprehension of French for that? So far I’ve mainly been staying inside and avoiding contact with the natives…
You don’t need to show comprehension of French to get a Quebec health card. Here is how you do it; I don’t know when you arrived but you may not be covered by Ontario’s health plan anymore so I’d do it soon.
On the other hand, if you live for many years in Quebec without ever learning to hold a simple conversation in French, some people may be miffed. Though if you “stay inside and avoid contact with the natives”, we may not notice your existence.
Depends where you are. My grade 9 immersion French gets me by in Gatineau and Montreal. If you’re in Gracefield-Northfield-Wright (really English names, no English speakers; go figure), or Abitibi-Temiscamingue, frankly I’d think living in the middle of nowhere is more of a concern than ticking off the locals.
Haven’t been to Quebec city before, though I suspect it’s much more Franco than Montreal, yes?
I actually do know people who have lived for years – decades – in Quebec without having learned a single word of French. They mostly live on the West Island, or in places like Hampstead or Cote Saint Luc. Generally, the ones I know are people who immigrated from Eastern Europe in the 50s and 60s and who are now quite elderly.
Back in the 70s I used to be part of that culture. Then we moved to Los Angeles.
If you list Québec as your choice for immigration. You should know that once that happens the province of Québec takes over the immigration process and you risk a chance of being rejected for not speaking French. Just an FYI.
You could list Ottawa as the destination and move to Montreal later. But either way if your intent on living in Québec you should learn french or at least learn it once you get there.
I’m an anglo that lived in Québec for a good part of my life. Learning french will make things much easier for you. I also agree with the adage of when in Rome …
Yes, if you visit Quebec you shouldn’t have problems getting by in English; even in the places where people are less likely to be fluent you’ll find someone who speaks it. I was talking about living there for a long time, which is quite different.
It’s an overwhelmingly French-speaking city, but also a city that attracts a very large number of tourists, so service workers should speak English if not other languages. Though I’ve never tried it so I can’t speak for personal experience.
Of course there are such people. But if someone tries this today, the question on everyone’s mind will be, why does this person live here if it’s to ignore the vast majority of their neighbours and act as though they didn’t exist? In the fifties, the answer might have been obvious. But society has changed since then.
First, contact an administrator and have your name changed to Mars bleu. :
If I were younger I’d consider ramping up my French skills and going for something like that, but given my age and current (un)employment situation I’m one of those older people they’ve got too many of.
Also, having lived in SoCal nearly all my life I’m not sure I could take those hivers.
My understanding is that the convention among the Canadian provinces is that your old province’s health plan covers you for three months after departure, and your new one kicks in after three months of residency. According to the linked website, Quebec follows this rule.
Thanks for the advice, Hari, I may just consider obtaining a work permit then.
I have no knowledge of French now, but I’m willing to learn after moving.
Indeed, interprovincial migration is a right guaranteed to both citizens and permanent residents by the Charter: s. 6(2). As for immigration to Quebec, that province derives its ability to do so from s. 95 of the Constitution.
More practically (and less boringly), it would be a good idea to learn French if you’re planning to move to Quebec, no matter in which province you enter Canada. Quebec is a beautiful province with fine people and a unique (compared to the rest of Canada) culture. You wouldn’t want to miss out on participating fully in it because you cannot speak the language.
It’s not just a convention: it’s required by federal law, as a condition of the province receiving federal funding for the province’s health care system. See the Canada Health Act: