Immigrating to Quebec as a family, choice or opportunity?
Many families choose to immigrate to Quebec
As we entered the month of February and Valentine’s Day was fast approaching, we thought about all the families who had been able to immigrate to Quebec as a family thanks to the Phoenix GMI team, and who would be able to spend their Valentine’s Day together this year.
While last spring many families were expected to join the one who was already working in Canada, the Covid situation put their project on hold for several months.
In the countries of origin of these families, the airports have often closed. Biometrics agencies were no longer accessible, and visas were no longer issued. Some of the families for whom we are doing the immigration procedures had their files completed by January 2020. They were ready to buy their plane ticket but were closed until the health restrictions were relaxed. We can imagine the suspense they went through and the joy of being reunited when the situation started to improve!
It is therefore with compassion and gratitude that we think of them, but also of those whose immigration process for Quebec has resumed, and who will join us in the coming weeks or months.
For if international recruitment is an achievement for an employer who has a vision of success for his company and who achieves it by having a sufficient workforce to support him in his dreams, the employer also allows individuals of heart to realize their own dreams. Also, when this international recruitment is in the region, it is an entire ecosystem that benefits from these families who arrive, integrate, participate in the economic life, and take on jobs that benefit the entire community.
Why choose to immigrate to Quebec as a family?
While we see the value of immigration to Quebec for our community, we also wanted to share with you the stories of those men, women and children who left everything behind to join our culture, our way of life and share our dreams.
As we spoke with some of these families and listened to their stories, we found that it was often the promise of a better life that attracted them. They have formed an impression of Canada and Quebec, especially through the reports, news or movies they have seen on television. By coming to live here, temporary foreign workers validated the image they had of our country and started the process of immigrating with their families.
It is often an ideal of life that has guided them here. They talk a lot about the tranquility that life offers. Many of them also express how kind and caring the people are.
To take the concrete example of welders, which is a trade in short supply in Quebec, they often have much more difficult working conditions in their countries of origin. They do not find work so easily, and their salary does not allow them to provide the education they would like for their children.
For many people, immigrating to Quebec as a family means, above all, offering their children the opportunity to achieve their full potential.
Some of the countries from which temporary foreign workers come have a less stable political system than ours, a less accessible quality school system, economic difficulties, or barriers to entry for certain professions.
For these parents who come to Quebec, all hopes are allowed for their children, and we feel that this is a driving force for them.
How did the opportunity to immigrate as a family to Quebec come about?
Over the past 3 years, Phoenix GMI has immigrated over 500 families to Quebec. It is also more than 750 temporary foreign workers for whom we have carried out the immigration process and whom we have often met during our international recruitment missions.
This is just the beginning and we are delighted for them to see their dreams come true! However, we know that there are, as they say, “many called and few chosen”. So how did those who are now temporary foreign workers perceive this opportunity to immigrate as a family to Quebec?
Often, while they were still in their country of origin, it was while talking with colleagues or friends about the constraints of life that they learned that certain trades were in short supply in Canada, and that the Canadian companies concerned were recruiting internationally.
Carlos, a temporary foreign worker whose family was able to join him recently with the help of Phoenix GMI, confided that once he realized that his profile had a chance of being selected in Quebec, he “thought about it more and more. He talked about it with his wife and they agreed that it would be a great opportunity that would solve many of their challenges. They had validated the idea of immigrating as a family when he was recruited and all their experience has confirmed their choice ever since.
Camilo, another temporary foreign worker who will have the chance to celebrate Valentine’s Day with his wife, does not have children yet. They too wanted to immigrate as a couple, but they gave themselves time to see how Camilo felt in Canada. After 3 months, he confirmed to his wife: “I told her how things work here in Canada and she was interested in coming to try it”. Immediately thereafter, “without wasting any time”, he began the process with Phoenix GMI to have her join him.
In both cases, it is because the couple saw in Canada a better future and the possibility of fulfillment for both of them that they started the immigration process. They were then ready to join the process.
How to plan for family immigration to Quebec?
From the moment a temporary foreign worker is recruited and decides to bring his family, he needs an immigration agency. Phoenix GMI offers these immigration services to families, but companies are not always aware of them. The temporary foreign worker does not necessarily know where to go to complete the immigration process.
Once in the hands of a good immigration agency, the steps follow one another. This sometimes becomes a real obstacle course for these families who want to immigrate. For some of them, the biometric test was nearly 20 hours away from their home. We let you imagine the logistics and the costs to consider.
During Covid, there were obviously more complications. Carlos tells us: “it was very complicated, I asked myself many questions to solve everything”. He had to find an apartment when he was sharing with a colleague, find a way to pick up his family at the airport, etc.
Finally, as he sums it up, “for one problem, there are a million solutions”. He is therefore very happy to have had confidence in himself and in life, and to have overcome his difficulties one by one. For him as for all the others, it was worth it, and maybe even the difficulties he faced make this adventure taste even better?
Waiting is a must for family immigration, especially during Covid
While preparations bring their share of surprises, temporary foreign workers who were joined by their families all noted how good it felt to be together after all the waiting.
According to them, this period was the least easy, but it is understood that the uncertainty of the duration of the health restrictions had a lot to do with it.
“The wait was hard, at the beginning everything was going well. At the moment of doing the biometry, it was fast. But unfortunately, afterwards we fell into the pandemic and it was hard, because we had no date for the end of the restrictions. We had to wait nine months before the process could start again; there are moments of discouragement, wondering what would happen next”, says Camilo.
Indeed, the international health situation arrived just as Carlos and Camilo were about to see their family embark. Fortunately, the telephone was there to keep in touch with the family from a distance, and the situation was only temporary.
It is important to note that outside of Covid time, the delays are much faster. Once the biometrics are done and the visa obtained, the family can immigrate to Quebec very quickly.
As Camilo says, “life came back to him” when the borders reopened. And to conclude he advises “don’t get discouraged and always follow your path, aim for your goal and follow it relentlessly!”
Reunion and future life plans
Once the borders were opened, the temporary foreign workers remember that the reunion was strong. They were obviously very happy to be back and this memory will stay with them for a long time!
For the family, it is a big change, there is the cold to acclimatize to, when you arrive in winter. But the fact that their husband or wife had arrived before the rest of the family and had already acclimatized gave them precious reference points.
For those who are not French-speaking, the question of language is crucial, it gives access to acculturation and allows them to organize their daily lives. It is also and above all the gateway to work and permanent residence. The workers and their spouses are very enthusiastic about learning French. They learn quickly and are eager to master the language!
But when asked about their plans, they talk about their children, present and future, and how lucky they are to have a future here. They are also happy that the system is designed to give them a comfortable life, with good schools and accessible health, a good job and a quality of life.
And because they love our country, they are busy building the conditions for permanent residency so that they can be sure to stay.
This will be another opportunity for us to help them take their dreams further!
Phoenix GMI offers international recruitment and immigration services for Quebec and Canadian companies, and for candidates wishing to make a life project in Canada.
Our multidisciplinary, rigorous and dedicated team implements concrete and personalized strategies for its clients.
PHOENIX-GMI is a Quebec-based company that works in the fields of international recruitment and immigration of employees and their family members. It offers a solution to the province’s labor shortage, promotes the growth of businesses and the integration of qualified workers into Quebec society.
550 Beaumont Avenue, Suite 430 Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3N 1V1
A pioneer and passionate practitioner, Selin has dedicated her career to international mobility since 1993. Her extensive expertise and excellent reputation are rooted in her family history. As an immigrant herself, she moved from Turkey to France and later from France to Quebec. She was rapidly immersed in an administrative role, social work and linguistics that are specific to professionals who support immigration.
Married in France at the age of 20 to Christian, co-founder of PHOENIX-GMI, she moved to Sherbrooke in Quebec alongside her family in 1999. Later, she collaborated with the University of Sherbrooke’s Entrepreneurship Institute and was invited by the Ministry of Education to teach courses on how to start a business. At the same time, she developed her own company in international mobility, which became PHOENIX-GMI in 2013.
In 2008, Selin became a regulated Canadian immigration consultant and eventually obtained her license for the province of Quebec. She positioned herself as a reference in terms of statuses based on work permits both in Quebec and in Canada. Quebec International, a para-governmental organization working in the Quebec City and Chaudière-Appalaches region, hired her as an expert consultant, trainer, participant in consultation tables and strategic development agent with its members.
In 2018, she was elected President of the Canadian Association of Professional Immigration Consultants for the Quebec region. This new position brought her to work directly with federal and provincial immigration authorities while ensuring that the profession was ethically and effectively represented.
These days, she is continuously motivating her team towards excellence in international recruitment and immigration services, all the while realizing her life ambition – of helping people from all over the world to experience a smooth and peaceful immigration and integration into Quebec society.
Christian H. Adam
Managing Director and Head of International Recruitment
Christian’s career path has been remarkable. As a student of Armenian origin, he emigrated from Turkey to France where he pursued studies in chemical engineering. After a few years in the rubber industry, he gained great expertise in the field, started managing laboratories while traveling through Europe. He diversified his activities towards related sectors: automotive, military equipment and health.
In the troubled context of the Kosovo war in 1999 – a conflict which had repercussions throughout the whole of Europe – he chose to immigrate to Quebec with Selin, his wife (and the firm’s co-founder), as well as their children. There he started managing the research and development laboratories of two Sherbrooke-based companies, considered as leaders in the polymer industry. At the same time, he learned about human resources management and personnel administration in a unionized environment. Along with this flourishing career, he developed multicultural approaches then adapted them to specialized training in business launches and coaching of new immigrants.
Committed to support international mobility, Christian cofounded PHOENIX-GMI in 2013 and simultaneously launched a consulting firm in the rubber industry. From this moment onwards, he was solicited by clients throughout Quebec to oversee the recruitment of foreign candidates in various positions, ranging from production to product finishing and quality control measures.
These days, Christian works as an intercultural mediator. Excelling at implementing international recruitment solutions, he allows companies throughout Quebec to address their labor shortage problems, while helping many qualified foreign workers realize their dream of immigrating to Canada.