Welcome to my new series, “How to immigrate to Canada“!
I recently received quite a lot of emails, asking me questions about the immigration process. So I decided to explain the whole process in 10 posts, which will be published every Saturday.
I also encourage you to ask any question you may have. I’m not an immigration consultant, but from experience, I may be able to point you to the right direction!
In the series, we will see the different options you have to come to Canada, as well as your rights and duties as a Permanent Resident, what happens after you arrive etc.
In the last two articles, I reviewed the two most common ways to immigrate to Canada: through the skilled worker category, and through the sponsorship category. But what if you want to settle in Quebec? Things are a little bit different.
Quebec is a province of Canada. As such, it shares immigration laws with the federal government of Canada. However, the province signed an immigration accord with Canada. Quebec is responsible for selecting the workers wishing to settle in Quebec, to achieve certain immigration objectives. But the federal government of Canada is still responsible for admitting the immigrants.
So what does it mean for a prospective immigrant who wishes to settle in Quebec?
It means that as a prospective permanent resident in Quebec, you will have to follow two major steps:
- Being selected by the provincial government of Quebec. Your educational and work backgrounds will be assessed, as well as your ability to integrate into Quebec. You will need to apply for and obtain a CSQ.
- Being accepted by the federal government of Canada. It is responsible for your medical examination and your security check. It will grant you permanent residence if you are successful.
If you apply in the skilled worker category and wish to settle in Quebec
The first thing you need to know is that Quebec is different than the other provinces. The most obvious difference is linguistic in nature: the official language in Quebec is French, not English and French. The population is 80% francophone, and even though they are some English communities, the importance given to French is huge.
The government of Quebec emphasizes the fact that the province has a very distinct culture. Indeed, you need to research the specific of Quebec before you consider settling there.
You may want to start with a general idea of Quebec’s core values. Don’t forget to research the job market: Canadian laws may be different in Quebec, where certain professions and trades are regulated, which means your credentials may not be recognized. Finally, get the facts about daily life in Quebec.
The importance of French cannot be stressed enough, as it is both a practical and a political issue. You may need to speak both French and English in some positions, but knowledge of French is almost a pre-requisite. Quebec also has language-laws requiring kids to attend school in French in most cases. Politically speaking, let’s just say it’s a touchy issue…
Like if you were settling in other provinces, you need to be selected as a skilled worker. There are also a certain number of criteria and a pass mark. You can evaluate your chances of being selected online for free, with the Preliminary Evaluation for Immigration.
The most important criteria are:
- Work experience, especially acquired training and occupational skills
- Knowledge of French, or willingness to learn the language. English is an asset.
- Age: ideally, the younger the better!
- Financial capacity: you must show that you can support yourself for the first few months following your arrival in Quebec
- Your immigration project
If you pass the preliminary test, you can prepare your application.
- Download the application for a CSQ, fill in all the paperwork and pay the fees.
- Your application will be reviewed and assessed by a Bureau du Quebec. An interview is sometime required. The interviewer will check your credentials (education, degrees, work experience…). He may test your knowledge of Quebec, your language skills and ask about your immigration project.
- You can check the processing time for a CSQ, it depends on the countries where the Bureau du Quebec is located.
- If your application is accepted, it will be forwarded to the federal government of Canada, which will assess your medical background and do the security check.
If you apply in the sponsorship category and wish to settle in Quebec
You will have to submit your sponsorship application to the federal government of Canada, as described in this article.
But, since you will settle in Quebec, you must add two extra steps.
- After the federal government approves the sponsorship, you must submit an undertaking application to the Ministère de l’Immigration et des Communautés culturelles. It is a contract that binds the sponsor with the person being sponsored and the provincial government of Québec. It establishes that the sponsor has sufficient financial resources to provide for the person you sponsor.
- Then, the person sponsored must obtain a CSQ.
How much does the CSQ cost?
For the principal applicant, it cost CA$390. For the spouse and each dependent child, it’s CA$150.
Note that if you immigrate as a family, each person must apply for a CSQ, regardless of if you will be working or not (i.e. even kids need their CSQ).
To the cost of the CSQ, you still have to add the cost of applying for permanent residence in Canada.
What if I wanted to settle in Quebec and changed my mind?
Whether you apply to live in Canada or in Quebec, the result is the same: you obtain, if successful, the permanence residence in Canada. Sure, the two processes are a little bit different, but your permanent resident card is the same.
Having the permanence residence in Canada gives you the right to live and work anywhere you like. Therefore, even if you apply for permanent residence in Quebec, no one can force you to stay there.
However, when applying for permanent residence in Quebec, you do declare that you wish to live in Quebec.
What if I applied for permanent residence in Canada and want to settle in Quebec?
Well, that is a bit more difficult… which is kind of weird actually. Permanent residents in Quebec can move wherever they want, but permanent residents in other provinces have to take several steps to live and work in Quebec, even though they have already immigrated.
You must submit an application for a CSQ (even if you are already a permanent resident in Canada) and pay the fees. Then, you will likely have to come back for an interview.
What if you applied for permanent residence in Canada but will land in Quebec?
In a word: don’t. Yes, it may be easier for you for whatever reason, but it’s a big pain.
If you land in Quebec but have proof on onward travel to another province (plane connexion, bus or train ticket), you are fine.
If you don’t, the immigration officials will very likely refuse to validate your landing documents. You will have to submit an application for a CSQ and pay the fees, and have an interview. If successful, you will have to have the documents validated… before that, your travel documents may be confiscated.
So basically, if you apply to live in Quebec, arrive in Quebec, if you apply to live in other provinces, arrive wherever you want but in Quebec.