4 Best Ways to Immigrate to Montreal, Quebec

Published on: April 29th, 2019
Last updated: November 29th, 2022

Montreal, Quebec, is a very popular destination for newcomers to Canada. In 2021 over 33,000 immigrants were welcomed in Quebec, with many going to Montreal. Its popularity is no surprise given its affordability and cultural diversity. Quebec also has a high job vacancy rate, meaning there are many employment opportunities.

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Looking to make the move to Montreal? Here are the four best ways to immigrate to Montreal as a permanent resident.

#1 – The Quebec Experience Program – Working in Quebec

If you meet the criteria, the Quebec Experience Program (PEQ) is your best option for immigrating to Montreal. However, PEQ has a few important criteria you must meet if you want to qualify. First, you must demonstrate advanced-intermediate knowledge of the French language. If you’re not a French speaker, unfortunately, this program is not for you.

For those who meet the French-language requirement, there are two streams of PEQ. One for those with Quebec work experience and one for those who have studied in Quebec.

To qualify under the stream for workers, you must be working in Quebec at the time of application. Many candidates gain this authorization through a working holiday visa, a young professionals program, or through an international co-op internship. As well, within the previous 2 years, you must have at least 12-months of full-time work experience at the management, professional, or technical level.

If you meet these requirements, applying through PEQ as a worker will give you the permanent status to live and work in Montreal.

#2 – The Quebec Experience Program – Studying in Quebec

The second stream of PEQ is for those completing post-secondary studies in Quebec. All applicants still require advanced-intermediate proficiency in French. However, in the study stream of PEQ, candidates must show that they have completed (or will complete within 6 months) an eligible post-secondary program in Quebec.

Generally, most post-secondary programs of two or more years are eligible. However, those completing a diploma of vocational studies (DEP) should check to ensure that their program meets the minimum requirements.

If you have completed your post-secondary studies in Quebec, then PEQ could be your best option to becoming a permanent resident.

#3 – Quebec Business Immigration

Quebec offers two popular business classes of immigration: one for entrepreneurs and one for investors. Both of these programs require a significant personal net worth, so if your bank account isn’t hitting the 6 digits (trust us, we get it!) then skip ahead to the next option.

The Quebec Entrepreneur Program could be a great fit for you if you have experience owning a business. In order to apply, you must have a business idea into which you are willing to invest at least CAD $200,000, or you have your business idea financed by one of Quebec’s designated business accelerators or business incubators.

The Quebec Investor Program is for heavy-hitting investors. If you have a personal net worth of at least CAD $2 million and you’re willing to invest at least CAD $1.2 million into Quebec, then you can apply for permanent residency through this stream.

#4 – Quebec Skilled Worker Program

In the past, the Quebec Skilled Worker (QSW) program has enabled overseas workers to apply for Quebec immigration. However, QSW has undergone some extensive changes over the past year.

In August 2018, QSW was changed from a first-come, first-served system, and replaced with a competitive, points-based system, similar to the federal Express Entry system. The new points system greatly prioritized applicants with French-language proficiency and with job offers in Quebec, making it more difficult for English speakers who wanted to apply from outside of the province.

Following the Quebec election in October 2018, a new government came to power and reduced Quebec’s overall immigration quota. This reduction most prominently affected QSW. Since this election, QSW has not yet issued a single round of invitations to interested candidates.

While it is possible that QSW could become a viable option again in the future, especially for French speakers and workers with job offers in Quebec, presently it appears that the program is in stasis while the government determines the best way to manage immigration policy.


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