non-standard question about move from nyc to montreal
April 2, 2014 1:12 PM   Subscribe

I currently work in NYC for a large multinational financial services company. I'm in a contract position here, which is due to be renewed in August (which possibly might not be). They've internally offered me a full-time position in Montreal, and I don't know if I should take the offer (which is flat on salary. 110k/yr). I can probably find a similar position in NYC, but it'd be a contract position, and I really like the culture of the company I work for and I guess I'd rather have the job security of a full time position right now... huge snowflake inside.

My single biggest concern is that my partner is a UK citizen living in the UK and I was already planning on her immigrating here to the US. How disruptive would a move to Canada be? How hard is it to become a permanent resident/citizen/whatever of canada? My company would handle whatever is necessary for me to be able to work over there, but I'm not sure what I would need to do to bring my partner over there. Would getting a spouse/fiancée visa be easier here in the US, or in Canada? If it's going to add a significant amount of time to me being with my partner, I think I would probably be against the move. (I've talked to her about it, and she has a slight preference for Canada, but, we'd both prefer which ever solution gets us together quicker.)

And yeah, there's a lot of research I need to do. But I'd like some quick pointers to information either way. Thanks!
posted by and they trembled before her fury to Human Relations (12 answers total)
This might be a godsend. UK to Canada immigration is easy-peasy!

Plus Montreal is a beautiful city, and a lot less expensive than other parts of Canada.

I'm pretty much pea green with envy right now!

Mazel tov!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:19 PM on April 2, 2014 [4 favorites]

110k is worth a lot, lot more in Canada than in NYC.

Are you male or female? It's definitely easier to bring over a same-sex spouse to Canada (which lacks a fiancee visa, I think), but it's also easier for you to bring over someone where you are a citizen. (It isn't hard to get citizenship, it's mostly a matter of sticking around in Canada for a while.) Given you'd be going to Montreal, does your fiancee speak French? What is her job field? Quebec judges immigration separately.
posted by jeather at 1:23 PM on April 2, 2014 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Yes, we're a same-sex couple. Probably should've mentioned that. Oops. She does speak French. She works retail which isn't really much of a job field at all -- she has a basically useless college degree :(
posted by and they trembled before her fury at 1:32 PM on April 2, 2014

She works retail which isn't really much of a job field at all :(

It's not a problem. Canada works on a point system. And to my recollection, speaking either or both of the languages is a huge bonus. So is youth (50 is where they start subtracting points for age.)

Here's a page from the Quebec Immigration page. They're expecting labor shortages.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:40 PM on April 2, 2014

If you're moving to Quebec and your fiancee already speaks French, she is well ahead of the curve in terms of immigration. Your salary will go a lot farther than there than it would in the US.

I would go ahead and look into a fiancee visa for here (Quebec/Canada). It should be a bit easier, especially if she has no criminal record.
posted by Kitteh at 1:47 PM on April 2, 2014

110k in Montreal is a fortune. It's a beautiful city with low cost of living and a great culture. Do it!
posted by third word on a random page at 2:08 PM on April 2, 2014

Yeah, in your position I'd jump at the Montreal opportunity. $110K (like $100K usd?) really does go much further in Montreal. And Montreal is just awesome...
posted by zvs at 4:02 PM on April 2, 2014

Montreal is beautiful and walkable, and offers plenty to do. It's a short flight to New York or Toronto. You could live *extremely well* there on that income.

Is your partner at all interested in changing careers/retraining? Quebec has the lowest tuition in Canada; even international students usually get a good deal. I think one year's tuition for an MA is around $10k (Canadian, obviously), depending on the subject. This would mean a student visa would be possible; I think those are processed faster. However, there have been recent changes to immigration laws, and I'm not sure how that might impact you. Also, I don't know how a student visa might affect the process of getting another kind of visa or residency later (am on phone, but those things are worth Googling).

There are two English universities, McGill and Concordia, and a few English colleges (cegeps) offering applied qualifications; it might be some are still accepting applications. Ime universities usually keep a few spaces open for late international applications.
posted by cotton dress sock at 4:14 PM on April 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

hi, montrealer here.
1) your partner could get a separate visa for canada, through quebec. sometimes this can take a year. you can't sponsor her, as you aren't a resident of canada yourself.
2) 110K is a ton of money, especially in montreal. but in quebec you pay huge taxes, way more than any other province. at that rate you will lose a lot of it (like 50%? i could be wrong on the exact count. but 55k is not as baller as 110K, even if your rent is only $1500 per month for a great place).
3) montreal is not as cheap as it used to be. by a long shot. (but still way way cheaper than nyc, obvs.)
4) this province is hella fucked up right now, politics are crazy, a lot of anglophones are planning their move outta here. this could mean a few things: cheaper rent again, loss of jobs (particularly multinationals got out around the last referendum, the same thing could happen.
5) it is going to snow again on saturday. i just (just) switched to my less-ridiculous winter coat, and i think i made the move too soon. think about it.
6) montreal is SO fun, in the summer, on a beautiful day. there is truly no better place. in the summer. on a beautiful day.
7) it's true that tuition here is cheap, but that's only for Quebec residents. so she could move here with her visa but if she wants to go to school here, that's a whole other thing you will want to check into before counting on it.
posted by andreapandrea at 5:24 PM on April 2, 2014 [2 favorites]

I'm a US citizen who lived in Montreal for four years in the Eighties, while I was studying/working at McGill. As others have said, it is a wonderful city.

While I insisted on "practicing my French" at stores, the bank, etc., I was pretty much met by practiced smiles or downright rolling eyes. "Okay, if we must." Which is to say, practically everyone in Montreal speaks English.
posted by Short Attention Sp at 5:58 PM on April 2, 2014

Crap, I was looking at international tuition for one semester. Really sorry. It'd be ~20k/year at Concordia, though I wonder if there might be commonwealth scholarships, things like that.

I haven't lived in QC for years and years, and andreapandrea is right that Montreal is cold in winter, but it's not like it's tons warmer in any of these places (and it's still far and away cheaper than e.g. Toronto). At least in Montreal, people go out and warm up together, and have a vision of urbanity that's essentially social. The politics do look pretty messed up right now, even from the outside. (Key things: right now, an election, looks like it will probably go to libs; it's for better minds than mine and history to work out, but it doesn't seem like separation will happen. There will probably be a backlash from the nonevent, though - right now they're working out issues around multiculturalism/secularism/religious freedom. Yeah, it's probably worth digging into the kinds of interesting times you'd be getting into.)
posted by cotton dress sock at 6:10 PM on April 2, 2014

Regarding visas, I'm sorry I don't have an answer to that part of your question...but I would think that should remember to compare income tax rates for NYC vs Montreal (as andreapandrea mentions) as part of your decision. I've heard my friend who lives in Montreal complain about how high they are.

Also, what is your tolerance to cold? For example, I live in Connecticut, so similar temps to NYC for comparison sake...I went to Montreal a couple of years ago late Sept. and was SHOCKED at how cold it was that early there.
posted by Shadow Boxer at 5:46 AM on April 3, 2014

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