Many of us international students, after spending a winter or two in Montreal, end up falling in love with the snow and thinking about staying here longer. Unfortunately, surviving the winter, eating poutine, riding a bike, or growing organic tomatoes on our balconies does not grant us permanent residency. For all the winter lovers here goes a little step-by-step guide about how to become a permanent resident in the province of Québec.
First, you will need to apply for the Certificat de Sélection du Québec (CSQ). As with the study permit, the province of Québec employs its own criteria for selecting candidates who plan to settle within the province. Once you have the CSQ, it is almost done. The next and final step is applying for Permanent Residency to the Canadian federal government. Generally, if you have been accepted in Québec you should not have problems to get it.
How do you apply for a CSQ?
Depending on your situation there are two procedures to get one. If you have finished your Bachelor, Master, or PhD degree and do not plan to continue studying before getting your residency, you can apply through the Québec Experience Program (PEQ). Otherwise, if you are already into your PhD, you will have to wait until you take your doctoral exams, and then you will be able to apply through the Regular Selection Program.
Faster and with fewer requirements than the Regular program, the PEQ is aimed at graduate students and workers with previous experience within the province. You will need to:
- Have a Bachelor, Master, or PhD degree from an educational institution in Québec.
- Demonstrate that you can provide your basic needs for a period of three months. (2748$ one adult; 4030$ two adults)
- Prove that you have an intermediate level (B1) of oral French. More information about the tests required here.
There is no time limit to apply since you get your diploma, as well as no need to be living in Québec.
What about the Regular Section?
As for the Regular Selection program, it is based on a points system. You will need to satisfy the following requirements in order to get a good score:
- Education: the higher level achieved, more points you get.
- Work experience.
- Age. More points for those under 35.
- Knowledge of oral French: If you want to get points here, you will have to provide standardized tests, even if French is your mother tongue language. Click here if you want to know the recognized evaluation tests.
- Knowledge of English: Same here. English test (just IELTS) even if you are an Anglophone.
- Spouse and family’s profile if they accompany you.
- Financial self-sufficiency for a period of 3 months (2748$ one adult; 4030$ two adults)
- Adaptability. This means, the capacity to get integrated into the work market.
The Regular program takes longer, and you might have an interview by the end of the process. Before applying, you can test your chances with the government’s self-assessment online evaluation tool.
For both programs, the process you will have to follow to complete your application for the CSQ is the same. Just fill out the form available online, send it to the address indicated, and pay the processing fees: 750$, plus 156$ for each accompanying person. You can find additional information on the web page as well as by calling here: 514 864-9191 / 1 877 864-9191.
Now: How do you get your Permanent Residency?
Once you’ve got the CSQ you can start the Permanent Residency application to the federal government. You will need the following:
- Fill out the form available online.
- Provide a police background check from all the countries in which you have lived for a period of 6 months or more (since you were 18 years old)
- Get a health check by an authorised doctor (they will tell you where to go)
- Pay the fees: 550$, plus 150$ accompanying family member.
- Submit your application by mailing it with all required documents to the address in the form.
- Once you get your Permanent Residence confirmed you will have to pay another 490$ for what they call “Right of permanent residency fee”. ADVICE: start to save money as soon as you can!
Finally, if you need more information just take a look at the Citizenship and Immigration Canada web page or give them a call (or two, or three…be patient, wait, and enjoy the relaxing classical music meanwhile ♫): 1-888-242-2100. As well, before applying I recommend assisting one of the information sessions on immigration procedures held by The International Student Office (ISO) at Concordia, conducted by government representatives who will be able to answer your questions in person. Check their website for more information.
Bienvenue au Québec! And remember that residency status is subjected to the condition that you must live in Canada for a minimum of 2 years over each 5-year period.
* Note 1: The Ministère de l’Immigration is applying new rules for the intake of applications. You might have heard that the application processes have been temporally blocked, yet if you have a diploma awarded by a Quebec institution or you reside temporarily in Québec as a foreign student, you can submit your application. More information here.
* Note 2: Information from Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s web page: “As of July 1, 2012, CIC will temporarily stop accepting applications for the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP). This temporary pause does not apply to those with a qualifying job offer or applying under the PhD stream. We will likely start accepting applications again when the revised FSWP selection criteria take effect. Proposed FSWP changes should come into force in early 2013.”