Quebec has different immigration requirements than the rest of the provinces.

You could certainly use one of the general programs for immigration to Canada to move to Quebec. However, Quebec offers specific programs for their province and that’s what we’re talking about here.

  • While it may not be forbidden to apply through Quebec and then immediately move to another province, it’s in poor taste. If you’re interested in living outside of Quebec, we’ve outline the other options for moving from the US to Canada.
  • If you have family in Quebec who could sponsor you or qualify for refugee status, this article isn’t relevant to you. We’re focusing entirely on the most likely scenarios for Americans to be able to move to Quebec.

Québécois

Over 80% of people in Quebec speak French, but plenty of them speak English, too. While people who speak conversational French are favored over Anglophiles, it’s not required that you speak French before you move to Quebec.

You’re encouraged to spend time learning French online or take classes before you leave the US in order to help you integrate more quickly. If you take language classes in the US after you’ve been approved to immigrate, you can have some or all of the fee reimbursed. Once you’re in Quebec, you’ll have access to French courses free of charge and possibly even financial aid to help you take time off to attend classes.

Living and working in Quebec temporarily

Going (back) to school

Once you choose a school, apply, and are accepted, the school will guide you through the process of getting a student visa. You’ll need to provide proof that you can support yourself while you go to school

As a student in Quebec, you’re agreeing to

  • Attend the program and have studying be your principal activity for the entire time you’re in Quebec
  • Acquiring your own health insurance coverage
  • Cover your own tuition, transportation costs (to and from Canada), living expenses, and any other costs

You don’t need to get a student visa for programs lasting six months or less.

Many students choose to extend their stay after graduation or immigrate permanently.

Find a job

Once you have a job offer in Quebec, you and your employer have to take steps to make it legal. Any time you extend your employment contract or change jobs, you’ll need to file a new work authorization application.

You can also simply take an extended vacation or find a contract job that falls under NAFTA.

Becoming a permanent resident in Quebec

If you don’t have family members to sponsor you for residency, these are your options:

Use the Regular Skilled Worker Program

In order to move to Quebec, you need a Certificat de sélection du Québec and then to apply for Canadian residency. Before you start, they want you to be aware of issues like trade regulation, costs, and obstacles faced by immigrants.

Quebec evaluates your education, work experience, age, language skills, ties to Quebec, financial self-sufficiency, and job prospects.

You can evaluate your chances of being accepted by filling out their Preliminary Evaluation for Immigration. It’s time consuming, but much less time consuming than the actual application.

Other options

Aside from Express Entry, Quebec offers three ways for people to become permanent residents of Quebec.

The documents required and their format differ for each program. Any documents not in French or English have to be translated by an approved translator.

It’s relatively likely that you’ll be asked to have an interview with immigration officers. These take place around Canada at various times of the year and last about an hour and a half.

Quebec Immigrant Investor Program

The Quebec Immigrant Investor Program is much more accessible than the Immigrant Investor Venture Capital Pilot Program, only requiring a net worth of CAD $1.6 million and a risk-free investment of CAD $800k.

Requirements
  • A net worth of at least CAD $1.6 million, including property, owned by you or your spouse or domestic partner
  • Have at least two years of management experience of a business that had at least two full-time employees, including the investor.
  • Invest CAD $800k with a participating broker or trust company for five years
    • Investments are guaranteed by the government of Quebec
    • Investments can be financed
    • The full amount will be reimbursed, without interest, at the end of the term
  • Intend to settle in Quebec

Only 1.9k applicants and their families will be accepted into the program, but candidates with advanced intermediate French proficiency are exempt from the cap. In fact, French speakers are given priority processing.

Applications will be accepted from May 30th until February 28, 2017, although it’s likely the cap will be reached long before then.

If you want to know more, they offer personalized welcome sessions in Montreal where you have three hours to get all of your questions answered.

This program is clearly marketed to business people from the Middle East and Asia who are looking to ensure their children’s success. Maybe they’ll take you anyway. Let’s hope you remember your high school French.

Entrepreneurs

Only 50 applications will be accepted into the Entrepreneur Program and registration opened April 1st. If you speak advanced intermediate French, you’re not subject to the cap, so you still have a shot.

Requirements
  • CAN $300k in assets between you and your spouse
  • Two years of recent full-time experience running a business in which you (and your spouse) control at least 25% of capital equity
  • A plan to create or acquire a business with a value of at least CAN $100k, or at least 25% of a business with that portion worth at least CAN $100k

There are specific requirements for what it means to manage a business, work full-time, and rules about what sort of business you can create or acquire. You have to comply with the terms for at least one of the first three years after you become a permanent resident.

Things they consider when looking at your application include your age, the nature of your education or training, your ability to speak French and English, and your “personal qualities and your knowledge of Quebec.” The most important factor is the steps you’ve taken to acquire a business in Quebec or to carry out creating a business in Quebec. Their website provides information on the business environment in Quebec and how to develop your business project or acquiring a business.

Self Employed Workers

Only 50 applications will be accepted. It opened April 1st, so it’s not going to happen for you.

Featured image: Foliage in the Parc du bassin Bonsecours and dome of the Marché Bonsecours, Montréal, Quebec, Canada. By Anna Kucsma via Wikimedia.

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