How to move to Montreal legally with future spouse and pet
December 28, 2006 7:36 PM   Subscribe

Help me find a way into Montreal in a legal fashion. I am a US citizen and I want to live there only to write my novel but I have no idea how to get a job there.

I feel like time is ticking until Moving Day which is the best time to move there from what I know. I would be fine with a temporary visa just to stay for a few months while I look around too. I figure I can have a few thousand saved up-will that be enough (3-5 thousand).

Also I need to move with my future husband. We are not legally married and won't be by the time I'd like to move but he needs to move with me. How is this possible? And has anyone moved from the US with their pets to Montreal?
Thank you for any information.
posted by AEM914 to Travel & Transportation around Montreal, QC (6 answers total)
This doesn't match your needs completely, but some answers to your questions are here.
posted by k8t at 7:40 PM on December 28, 2006

To misquote Han Solo, moving from one country to another, even temporarily, ain't like dustin' crops. It's a big, complex, expensive thing to do.

If you're younger than 30, you might look into a working holiday program, but these are often limited to registered students. I don't know the ins and outs of Canada's program.

If you work in one of the relevant NAFTA professional categories, you might be able to enter under that and find work. There have been other threads about NAFTA employment you can search for.

Otherwise, I'm afraid you're largely fucked, at least as far as legal work goes. In theory, you might be able to get a company to hire you and get you work papers, but that's not realistic. Alternatively, you could try to enter as a landed immigrant, but that would take a lot longer and there would be a monetary requirement in excess of $3000.

There's always illegal work, but this can be dangerous insofar as getting caught might mean being banned from Canada for some long period of time or even actual punishment, would almost certainly ruin your chances of being able to emigrate to Canada later if you wanted to, and you'd be working without benefits and maybe even without being covered by Quebec's health care system.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:24 PM on December 28, 2006

I'm plodding my way through the Canadian immigration system myself, and it's quite different from US immigration: it's not nearly as open, and the wait times are quite long. Specific to your situation, Canadian immigration is very wary of immigrants taking jobs from Canadians, and work permits are hard to come by for temporary residents.

The requirements for the various types of immigration are all laid out on their website, which I encourage you to read in depth. You may want to consider saving up however many months' expenses you'll need to support yourselves and getting visitor status (which I believe is valid for up to six months). You can't work as a visitor, but it's my understanding that you don't have to wait long for a visitor permit, and it doesn't carry the complications of seeking permanent status.

The reason I suggest this is that realistically you can't work in Canada unless you're approved as a permanent resident, and I get the impression from your post that you don't intend to move to Canada permanently. There are a few exceptions (limited hours of on-campus work on a study permit, for example) but generally if you want to work in Canada, you have to want to live there permanently. This involves considerable expense and, unless you have a Canadian parent or spouse to sponsor you, a wait of around three years (or more) before you're approved. So basically, your choice is to go soon, but stay only temporarily and not work; or wait a few years, but stay as long as you like and be able to work.

Keep in mind as well that Canada is notoriously bad at recognizing foreign accreditations, even from the US. If you intend to work in a regulated profession (medicine, law, accounting, education, etc.) be sure your credentials will carry over.

IANAL (yet -- thanks in part to this whole process) and none of this is legal advice, so please do find out more for yourself. If there is a consulate near you, try contacting them as they can be an excellent resource. Also be aware that Quebec has its own guidelines for certain types of immigration that I am not particularly familiar with, although I understand they're generally along the lines of "fill out form 234-Q instead of form 234" as opposed to offering different modes of immigration.

If this doesn't discourage you, you may want to consult a lawyer. Immigration is complicated and expensive anyway; it doesn't need to be complicated for you further by having to navigate it unaided. Good luck!
posted by AV at 2:54 AM on December 29, 2006

You don't say exactly how long you plan to stay for or what type of housing you require. A two bedroom can be had starting at about $650.00. Without knowing what kind of life you lead it's hard to say how far $3000-$5000US would get you.

Bear in mind that the places people are moving into on moving day (July 1) are often taken in advance. Places do come available after this although Aug/Sept are difficult with all the students arriving. Leases are for 1yr. Coming as a visitor you might prefer to take over a student's apartment for the summer to test the waters. I'd check craigslist for this.
posted by Cuke at 5:27 AM on December 29, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks for all of the advice. I think maybe I'll try for a visitor's status for the summer. That's a good idea. I don't know if I would move there forever or not--I'm only 26 so I want to see lots of things before deciding.

Thank you for all of the advice.
posted by AEM914 at 8:51 AM on December 29, 2006

Also note that without speaking French you will have difficulty finding a job. Outbound call centres, clothing factories, and perhaps dishwashing will be about all you can count on.
posted by loiseau at 9:07 PM on December 30, 2006

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