Quebec has always been a preferred destination province in North America for foreign workers. As the largest province in Canada and the second most populous, it is home to the city of Montreal, filled with opportunities for those who wish to settle there.
A streamlined process for hiring temporary workers unique to Quebec
When Canadian employers seek to hire foreign workers, they usually need to submit a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). This process involves demonstrating recruitment efforts among Canadian citizens and permanent residents to the federal government.
This step, heavily regulated by authorities and spanning several weeks, can be a barrier to hiring foreign workers. However, it is not always mandatory for hiring workers in Montreal.
Thanks to programs implemented at the provincial level, Montreal benefits from a unique agreement in Canada covering over 300 different professions. The list of these professions is updated annually. For these occupations, authorities recognize a labor shortage, exempting employers from recruitment efforts.
This means that for these professions, ranging from accountants and teachers to engineers, numerous information technology and hospitality-related occupations, hiring is facilitated. Montreal thus takes advantage of Quebec's attraction policy compared to other Canadian provinces.
Additionally, Canada and Quebec have implemented a pilot project for professions not included in this agreement. This further exempts employers from recruitment efforts. Cashiers, maintenance workers, and laborer positions are among those covered by this pilot project.
This ongoing collaboration between the two levels of government accelerates the arrival of foreign workers in the francophone metropolis. These workers are essential to meet the growing labor needs in the province with the lowest unemployment rate.
Montreal, an international city
With the aim of facilitating the arrival and integration of foreign workers into the Quebec labor market, Quebec has entered into several agreements with countries around the world to encourage the influx of talent into the province.
For the past 15 years, the province has had a mutual recognition agreement with France covering more than 80 professions. These include occupations in the healthcare sector, mechanics, urban planners, and bakers, among others. This agreement facilitates the entry of skilled workers to Montreal, as their qualifications are already recognized. A similar agreement also exists with Switzerland.
In the same vein, Montreal benefits from the numerous agreements Quebec has with foreign countries in the social services and education sectors, which facilitate the integration of foreign nationals upon their arrival. This allows them to quickly establish a sense of belonging to their adopted city.
Federal international agreements are an advantage for workers in Quebec as well
Both Canada and Quebec are committed to facilitating the movement of foreign talent worldwide. As part of bilateral agreements with over 35 countries worldwide, Canada offers opportunities for young people to come and work or intern in Canada without the employer needing to submit an LMIA application in advance.
From Australia to France, Chile to South Korea, the International Experience Canada program allows young individuals to enhance their professional development while significantly simplifying the procedures for employers.
Similarly, Canada is a member of numerous free trade agreements, such as the USMCA in North America, the CETA with the European Union, and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.
These agreements generally facilitate the mobility of foreign professionals and enable many employers to expedite their recruitment processes, avoiding the need for an LMIA.
These various agreements provide exceptional opportunities for Montreal employers to easily and quickly recruit international talent while minimizing administrative procedures.
What about permanent residency?
As the most autonomous province in terms of immigration in Canada, Quebec also has specific programs for accessing permanent residency.
Outside of Quebec, it can be extremely lengthy and difficult, if not impossible, to obtain permanent residency without holding a minimally skilled job. In contrast, the province recognizes that all talents have a place within its borders and has programs that allow less-skilled workers to qualify for permanent status.
Furthermore, as the province is about to submit its new multi-year immigration plan, it is important to note the potential increase in annual permanent immigration thresholds. It will also be interesting to observe the opportunity for French-speaking graduates in Quebec to qualify for permanent residency without needing to demonstrate work experience, which is again impossible in other Canadian provinces.
The federal government has also implemented various facilitated work permit programs for permanent residency applicants in Quebec. These permits allow them to stay more easily in the country while promoting their retention by employers in the province until the final decision is made.
Compared to other Canadian cities, Montreal stands out in terms of attracting foreign workers. Whether benefiting from pan-Canadian programs or specific agreements that do not exist in other provinces, the hiring and retention of foreign workers are facilitated in many aspects.
With provincial programs in place, Montreal offers abundant opportunities for talents from around the world and implements means to welcome those who wish to settle there.
This article was written by Dylan ALARY, an immigration attorney. The last update was made on June 15, 2022.