My wife and I want to move to Canada; Montreal, specifically. What do we need to know?
November 8, 2007 8:12 PM   Subscribe

My wife and I want to move to Canada; Montreal, specifically. What do we need to know? (Currently living in Kansas City, Missouri, U.S. of A.)

She is fluent in French and the culture appeals to both of us more so than what we've come to consider "gross" here in the US. (Mainly a pro-war gov't that willfully ignores it's constitution more evryday.) We're sure Canada has it's problems, but it seems like it's not quite so proud of them.

We're both citizens in good standing, she is a dentist, and I am marketing assistant with a few web development projects on the side. (She knows she'll have to pass another set of boards to practice in Canada.)

Anyway, that's a little background. WE started discussing this seriously this week and we're looking for talking points and research considerations. Anything tips or advice from someone who's made the US-Canada move or who is from the Montreal area would be grand. Thanks.
posted by wmeredith to Travel & Transportation (17 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
When are you planning to move? What kind of information are you looking for? Immigration-related stuff specifically?
Can you be a bit more specific?

I'm a Montrealer but I was born in Canada so I can't advise about the process of immigrating. I can tell you that you can take French courses for free as a new immigrant, though.
posted by loiseau at 8:33 PM on November 8, 2007

Oh -- I guess I could say that it will be very difficult for you to find work if you don't speak French. (Assuming you're not into working in a call centre or washing dishes.) You should try to become as fluent as possible before moving, unless money isn't a huge concern right away.
posted by loiseau at 8:34 PM on November 8, 2007

There are a number of previous threads on here about Montreal and immigrating to Canada and moving to Canada.

"What does it take for an American to move to Canada?" is a perennial favorite question here. Here are a few examples, undoubtedly there are more if you search: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:39 PM on November 8, 2007

In case you haven't already done so, try taking this skilled worker self-assessment test from Immigration Canada (I am assuming you will be trying to immigrate as a skilled worker).
posted by Krrrlson at 8:39 PM on November 8, 2007

Also, Citizenship and Immigration Canada's website about immigrating to Canada will be useful.
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:43 PM on November 8, 2007

You should know that the test Krrrlson linked above is for immigrants to anywhere in Canada except Quebec. Immigrants intending to settle in Quebec are assessed under different criteria.
posted by transient at 8:48 PM on November 8, 2007

You may have already looked, but there's a ton of AskMetafilter questions on a lot of this already. Also, considering how many people are doing this lately, I'm surprised there's no website that covers this in more detail.

Without getting into a ton of details, what you're basically going to have to do is have your wife apply to immigrate to Quebec - specifically that province; they run things differently if you're going there. The upside: being fluent in French and a dentist means she's definitely going to be able to get in as a skilled worker. Applying to go directly to Quebec, from the US, has a processing backlog of 6-8 months, as compared to 18-24 for other provinces from the US. The downside: it's harder, and I am less familiar with how your lack of French fluency will affect the process for Quebec.

Quebec has a nice website about things here , and it's even in English.

The absolute best thing to do is to line up employment before you get here, and I'm not entirely sure how that would work with dentistry, but ODQ (the Order of Dentists of Quebec, the professional certification authority there) can definitely give her a hand.

The reason I'm being specific about her is that someone would have to be the primary applicant, and someone has to be the "and spouse", and she's got much better marketability, at least in this context.

Good luck!
posted by blacklite at 8:49 PM on November 8, 2007

There are quite a few Montrealers in MeFi, regular question-answerers as well.

When you say "citizens in good standing" do you mean Canadian citizens? If so that would make things easier for sure.

In terms of immigration procedures and specifically what it will take for her to practice dentistry here I can't help much, but hopefully someone here will be able to help. I would be very careful about your research into what it will take for your wife to work - it should be straightforward but I know that there have been large issues around any kind of foreign medical training in Quebec. Usually those problems seem to be related to people from outside of Europe or the US, but better to be safe than sorry.

In terms of language - if you're going to settle in Montreal you'll have to learn French as soon as you can, but I would be optimistic about your ability to find a job. Your choices will be somewhat limited, but it should be do-able. There's a decent boom going on right now that should help as well, and because many Montreal companies are heavily invested in targeting US markets, they understand that English is a necessity and seek it out.

In terms of neighbourhoods and such, there are lots of other AskMe threads on that, though they tend to be focused on very central 'hoods like the Plateau, Mile End, and Outremont (which are all great).
posted by mikel at 8:53 PM on November 8, 2007

Quebec manages immigration separately from the rest of Canada.

posted by ethnomethodologist at 9:00 PM on November 8, 2007

Montrealer here. I can't vouch for the hoops that your wife will have to jump through here, although being from the USA makes it a lot easier than eastern europe or africa. What I do know is that within the first two years she'll have to pass a French language test, regardless of the work environment. It's got several parts: comprehension, spoken and written. You can fail it once or twice. If she has decent fluency she shouldn't stress about it too much and should be in a good position to prepare for it.

The short of all previous answers are that you can still get a job here if you speak English, but it is a bit harder. You can still cope here pretty well, even if you don't speak French. It's a great city, with lots going for it. Good luck.
posted by furtive at 9:04 PM on November 8, 2007

Wow. According to that test Krrrlson pointed to I could immigrate to Canada without even having a job lined up. Nice to know.
posted by Coventry at 2:54 AM on November 9, 2007

If you're immigrating as skilled workers, it will likely take at least a year and a half, and possibly more than two, for your application to be approved. So you're not going anywhere before January 2009 anyway.
posted by oaf at 4:33 AM on November 9, 2007

I am marketing assistant with a few web development projects on the side.

I don't think that speaking only English will be a problem in the tech and marketing sector. I was at a barcamp event the other night (about facebook). There were at least 300 people, developers and web marketers. I'd guess that 80% of them understood French but half of the presentations and discussions were in English because 100% of attendants understood it. Most people switched from English to French all the time. You could fit right in.
And you'll learn French when you'll have to chose between 20 kinds of fresh baked bread at Première Moisson.
posted by bru at 6:22 AM on November 9, 2007

As an immigrant, your children will (likely) only be able to attend French-speaking public schools (or private schools in either French or English). I say likely as there are ongoing court battles over this.
posted by cardboard at 8:53 AM on November 9, 2007

I'm currently in the process of immigrating, but as a BC Provincial Nominee (I don't think QC has one though) and oaf is definitely right in that it's not an expeditious process. However, if you have a job lined up, you can get a NAFTA work visa. It's pretty cheap and quick, but has to be renewed every year. However, that would allow you move to QC much sooner and apply for permanent residency while you're there.
posted by Nelsormensch at 9:01 AM on November 9, 2007

As an immigrant, your children will (likely) only be able to attend French-speaking public schools (or private schools in either French or English). I say likely as there are ongoing court battles over this.

I think this is only the case if neither of the parents were educated in English. Assuming you both were born and raised in the US, I don't think this should be a prob.
posted by bitteroldman at 1:13 PM on November 10, 2007

Bitteroldman - the law has changed since, the parents had to have an English education in Quebec.

To be honest I'm skeptical of political immigration. Quebec has tons of issues - racism, for example, is way up there. If you're not committed enough to your views to be part of the solution at home, why would you be here?

I was born in Montreal, grew up in the States, and moved back here starting in university. I love both. So I wouldn't discourage anyone from moving up here.

But you might want to learn a bit more about Canadian and Quebec politics and government.
posted by Salamandrous at 10:27 PM on November 10, 2007

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