Moving to Montreal?

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Moving to Montreal

About to move to Montréal and not sure in which of the city’s neighborhoods you will end up? Maybe you are even thinking of moving to the city’s periphery? If you have not made up your mind yet, maybe our expat guide will help!
Many of Montréal's neighborhoods are full of picturesque architecture.

Immigration: Things Work Differently in Québec

Things work somewhat differently in Québec compared to the rest of Canada, and immigration legislation does not make an exception in this regard. The province has its very own regulations for immigration, temporary work permits, and just about everything else that concerns the administrative side of relocating to Montréal and other regions of Québec.

Among the various categories of residency and work permits that the government of Québec offers, three should be of particular interest to expats:

  • Permanent workers — this category is primarily directed towards the classical immigrant.
  • Temporary workers — itself split up into the categories of skilled worker, low-skilled worker, agricultural worker, and live-in caregiver. The first mentioned is the category that directly caters to expats and will thus be focused on below.
  • Businesspeople — this is your category if you plan to relocate to Québec in order to open up a new business or buy an existing one.

In for the Long Term?

Permanent workers who wish to immigrate to Montréal and establish themselves (and their family) there have to fulfill two separate sets of requirements: those for their selection and their admission. The admission process is handled on a national basis and is the one we have outlined in our article on moving to Canada. It encompasses the successful application for permanent residency and a medical examination. The selection process is handled by Québec and comes with a wide range of requirements that prospective immigrants to Québec have to fulfill even before they can actually apply for permanent residency in Canada. The factors influencing whether or not you will be selected and granted your Certificat de sélection du Québec (CSQ) include:

  • Your age 
  • Your professional qualifications and education
  • Whether or not you have a prospective employer in Québec
  • Knowledge of French — note that knowledge of English is not mandatory

There are many other factors, all of which are assessed based on a point system. The details of this system can be seen on the pages of Immigration Québec. After successfully applying for your CSQ, you need to overcome the last hurdle and apply for permanent residency before you can finally relocate to Montréal.

The Easy Way Out: Working Temporarily

Luckily for expats, the process is a lot easier if you do not intend to settle permanently in Montréal, but spend a predetermined amount of time working in the city. In this case, the requirements are a lot less numerous and more straightforward. The main prerequisite you need to comply with is, obviously, finding an employer who is interested in hiring you. The company has to apply for a Labour Market Impact Assessment, which confirms that hiring an expat was necessary as no qualified personnel was available in Québec.

Furthermore, you need to supply your employer with a completed application for a Certificate of Acceptance (CAQ) — your future company will then carry out the necessary steps. Only with a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment and a CAQ can you apply for a temporary work permit with the CIC, which has further information on the process on their website.

We have compiled further useful info for expats who come to Montréal by virtue of their temporary work permit in our article on working in Montréal.

Information Sessions

The government of Québec has arranged for regular information sessions, providing anyone interested in relocating to the province with the necessary knowledge on the details of immigration and info on Québec itself, to be held in various cities around the globe. The portal of the government of Québec has further information.

Preliminary Evaluation for Immigration

Seeing how the regulatory statutes of the province are somewhat more detailed and, in fact, more strict than those in the rest of Canada, some expats might start having second thoughts about whether or not they should actually undertake the big move abroad to Montréal. To combat your possible doubts, you can take the Preliminary Evaluation for Immigration — a free online service which gives you a good idea about your chances of being selected by Québec.


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete.

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