In 2017, the government of Québec welcomed no less than 51,000 new immigrants, and expects to welcome another 52,500 in 2018. The vast majority of these new arrivals will face the challenge of integrating into the Québec job market.
If you’re planning a move to La Belle Province, as Québec is nicknamed, here are five tips to help you get started.
Obtain a visa and a work permit
No matter your country of origin, you need to have a visa and a work permit to legally enter Canada and begin searching for a job. Remember that it’s illegal to enter Canada on a tourist visa with the intention of looking for employment.
There are two types of work visas:
- The open work visa, which allows the holder to work for any employer in Canada;
- The work visa linked to a particular employer and that is valid for a certain period of time, as indicated by the visa holder’s work contract with a Canadian employer.
Any work visa you get will outline the conditions that apply to the visa, such as:
- The type of work that you are allowed to engage in;
- The employer for which you are allowed to work;
- The location where you can work;
- The time period during which you are eligible to work in Canada.
When applying for a work visa, make sure that you select the type of visa that is right for you. You can find out more about Canadian work visas on this official government website.
The paperwork and administrative processes associated with obtaining a work visa can be time-consuming and expensive, so make sure to give yourself plenty of time to implement your plan to come to Canada. As well, keep in mind that employers based in Quebec will always prioritize hiring candidates who are already living in the province and who possess a valid work visa.
Master the basics of the French language
Québec is the only territory in North America with a French-speaking majority. While there is a substantial community of English-language speakers in Québec, they represent only around 20 percent of the population. Therefore, an ability to speak and understand French is essential to enter the Québec job market.
If you do not come from a francophone country, you should start learning French as soon as possible, and well in advance of your departure for Canada. Beyond taking individual French lessons, there are also many resources available online. It helps to watch French movies, read French publications and participate in French-language events to improve your skills.
Find out if your profession is regulated
In Québec, some professions – such as engineering and nursing – are regulated. In practice this means that these professionals are governed by professional orders, groups that are mandated to define who can become a professional in the industry, what criteria professionals must meet to become a member of the order, and also to define best practices within the profession.
Professional orders evaluate the competencies and education of individuals who wish to join their ranks. Some professional orders also issue certifications and permits to qualified candidates, or require that their members undergo professional training lasting from a few months to several years.
To get a job in an industry that is governed by a professional order, you may have to go back to school for a period of time in order to achieve the necessary qualifications.
Find out as early as possible if your profession is governed by a professional order or by special regulations in Québec. If so, reach out to the order to find out more about the process to become a member, since the process may take a long time. Remember that you may be able to begin the process of joining a professional order while still living in your home country.
Learn about your industry
To better support immigration project, do some research to find out if jobs in your industry are currently available in the province. The presence – or not – of organizations in your industry in the Québec job market will help you evaluate how quickly you will be able to find employment in Québec.
To find out this type of information, consult the Emploi-Québec website and Jobboom.com, which is an excellent source for information about the job market in Québec. Jobboom provides expert advice from human resource professionals who can help candidates in their job search; Jobboom also provides visitors with vivid portraits of industries, sub-sectors, and interviews with experienced professionals.
Reach out to Quebecers who work in your industry
It’s regularly said that, in Québec, 30 percent of the job market is hidden from view. This refers to the reality that information about available jobs is sometimes only shared among the professionals in a particular industry. This is a common occurrence outside of Québec as well: at many organizations, open positions are initially advertised only internally, with the goal of having a current employee apply for and fill the open position. This makes the hiring process much easier for the organization, as they already know the person and have an understanding of their suitability for the position.
Knowing this, it’s essential that you work hard to grow your network of professional contacts in Québec and elsewhere. You can even begin this process while you are still located in your home country by using social media platforms such as LinkedIn. The process of building a network of professional contacts can also provide you with valuable information about the job market in Québec.
According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the unemployment rate for immigrants in Montreal who have lived in Canada for less than five years is 18 percent – so it’s a good idea to do everything you can to improve your chances of landing a job when you arrive in Québec!