Quebec: 10 things to know (and do) before leaving to work there

Posted Oct 21, 2022 10:41 AMUpdated Oct 21, 2022 10:42 AM

The ‘Belle Province’ – nickname given to Quebec – never ceases to make the French dream. An attraction that is measured by their number in the region: it almost doubled between 2005 and 2019, going from around 46,000 to more than 80,000, according to figures from the consular registers of Quebec and Montreal. More generally, Canada remains the favorite destination for the French to expatriate, 25% of them would settle there, a figure which even rises to 33% for 18-34 year olds, according to a Yougov survey. realized at the beginning of 2021.

But it is better to avoid idealizing a future professional career in Quebec. For Les Echos START, Paul Trottier, international recruitment advisor for the General Delegation of Quebec in Paris, discusses the things to keep in mind and to anticipate before potentially flying to the ‘Belle Province’.

1. If you are a recent graduate… it can be complicated

Cheerful, motivated, you have just finished (finally!) your higher education in France and you would like to join ‘Le Plateau’, this district of Montreal often (kindly) mocked by the locals for being the landmark of the French community in their city. . Warning : “Quebec employers are mainly looking for candidates who already have experience”, warns Paul Trottier. Difficult, according to him, to be able to apply for an offer from a company from ‘La Belle Province’ without justifying at least one, two or even three years of experience. “What I recommend instead is to choose an end-of-study internship in Quebec. If all goes well, the company may decide to keep you, and you will thus avoid the difficulties that young French graduates in our province may experience”.

2. Consider contacting the general delegation of Quebec in Paris

A (very) simple piece of advice, but one that would be a shame to leave out. “The General Delegation of Quebec in Paris, which is the largest of all our representations abroad, can support you in your professional project in Quebec, particularly in the administrative procedures (such as applying for a work permit, for example ) which can often seem complex to you”, summarizes the expert. Information sessions are regularly organized, and it is not necessary to live in Paris to take part since most are accessible online. It is also possible to make an appointment directly with a delegation adviser, but “the information sessions we organize very often answer most of the questions you may have”.

3. Anticipate the work permit

“In France, you call it visa, we talk about work permits”, explains Paul Trottier. And beware, even an unpaid mission – such as volunteering for example – requires a work permit. It is therefore better to avoid leaving with a gun! “Above all, and with some exceptions – such as the working holiday permit (PVT) – you absolutely must have found a Quebec employer before you can claim a work permit”underlines the expert.

4. Find a job in Quebec from France

Hence the need to find a job in Quebec… even before leaving. Which may seem complicated at first glance. “But it’s not that rocket science. I advise you to start by going to the Pôle emploi website, in the international mobility section. » You will find there in particular a search engine to filter the job offers proposed in Quebec according to your sector of activity (knowing that a French person can work in any sector of activity in Quebec, with rare exceptions) . But, in view of the labor shortage situation that the ‘Belle province’ is currently going through, it would be a shame to deprive you of what is called the ‘hidden market’, that is to say all those jobs that are not the subject of a job offer. “The best way to access it is to target companies yourself and send them unsolicited applications”advises Paul Trottier.

5. Learn how to convince a Quebec employer to hire you

If you send unsolicited applications, you can potentially come across Quebec employers who are reluctant to hire a foreign employee. “Some companies are not even aware of the steps to be taken to recruit a French worker, or think that it is too complicated. In this case, you can tell them that the service responsible for immigration to Quebec can help them. » This service can help them find out which permit the French worker will need or assess the cost of hiring a foreign employee. “It’s a very good way to reassure the employer. »

6. Participate in Quebec recruitment days in France

The best way to convince a Quebec company to recruit you is still to meet them physically. And it is possible without having to cross the Atlantic. This is what the general delegation of Quebec in Paris allows. Every year, it organizes a ‘Journée Québec France’. The next one will take place on December 10 and 11, 2022 and you have until November 20 to register. “A hundred companies will be represented, in sectors as varied as video games, civil engineering, education, or even finance”, says the expert. Prior to these days, the companies will carry out a pre-selection of candidates whom they will receive, on site, for a job interview. “But all candidates will obviously also be able to meet all the employers present during these days. »

7. Take the steps to open a Quebec bank account before leaving

Once your job has been found, the first thing to do according to Paul Trottier is to open an account in a Quebec bank. “It’s simple, you will be asked for proof of your Quebec bank account for most of your administrative procedures there, whether to rent accommodation or open an internet line. » He cites, for example, the Desjardins bank, which has a dedicated team to respond to requests from foreign workers. “All account opening procedures can be carried out online and it is possible to receive your credit card at home, in France. »

8. To look for accommodation, go (or not) there

This is a step that can be a source of stress… But fortunately, solutions exist so that the hunt for a (super) accommodation does not become too complicated. “So-called relocation companies – dedicated to people moving to a new country or a new city – can do the apartment or house searches for you. They have the advantage of knowing the local market well and also of avoiding you having to go there to make your visits. » If you prefer to do everything yourself, keep in mind the specificities of the Quebec real estate market, especially in the vocabulary used in the ads. “1½, 2½, 3½… designates the number of rooms in the apartment, the mention ‘½’ representing the bathroom. Moreover, unlike in France, the kitchen is counted as a room in its own right. »

9. Prepare for a different corporate culture

Who says new country, says different corporate culture. “The hierarchical link is often less formal than in France and it is common to use familiar terms with your employer”, gives Paul Trottier as an example. What can be destabilizing for a young worker from France is that companies work a lot on a culture of the results of their employees. “The counterpart is that you can often quickly access positions of responsibility, since employers easily recognize your talents. » Another point to keep in mind: whatever the prestige of your French diplomas, they often do not mean much to Quebec companies. It is therefore more judicious to highlight your various achievements and skills developed during your internships or previous professional experiences. “If you absolutely want to promote your diplomas, find out about their local equivalents. For example, we will not speak of BTS in Quebec but of college diploma, or DEC. »

10. For retirement, you have an advantage!

Given the reciprocal agreements between France and Quebec, all the contributions that will be paid to you in one country or the other will be taken into account in the same way for the calculation of your retirement. “This device does not exist for all the countries in which the French go to work there, so it is a big advantage! »

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