An Indian immigrant's dream of staying in Quebec undermined by bureaucracy

An Indian immigrant's dream of staying in Quebec plagued by bureaucracy

MISE À DAY

Arjun Kapur, an Indian immigrant who learned French and found a job in finance in Quebec, is surprised: he would obtain his permanent residence more quickly if he moved to Toronto or Vancouver.

“I am the only Anglophone who learned French in my cohort,” Mr. Kapur tells the Journal. In May, he graduated from McGill University with a Master of Business Administration (MBA) after two years of study.

“I think I spent more time learning French than 'to study at McGill,' he says.

Boxing and meditation in French

The young immigrant was not content to take government francization courses. He also took boxing, meditation and improvisation classes in the language of Tremblay. And he made the effort to socialize with French speakers to multiply the opportunities to use his new language.

Now 31 years old, Arjun Kapur studied finance at the University of Michigan before to move to Budapest, where he spent a few years. He notably worked at BlackRock, the largest asset manager in the world.

Arrived in Quebec in November 2020, he did not want to repeat his Hungarian experience, where his lack of knowledge of the country's language had confined him to circles of expatriates. 

During his studies, Mr. Kapur worked at Réseau Capital, an association of the Quebec finance sector. And this year, he became a venture capital advisor at Investissement Québec.

He has a three-year work permit. 

Talking to his McGill comrades left for Toronto, he discovered that the delays to obtain permanent residence were much shorter in English Canada than in Quebec.

Coming from India, Arjun Kapur learned French to work here in finance… and does not want to move to Ontario to speed up his immigration file.

“I don't want to leave because I love my life here in Montreal and I don't see why I should move,” he says.

In English Canada, skilled immigrants have access to the Express Entry program, which allows them to obtain permanent residence quickly – sometimes in less than a year.

Quebec and Ottawa to blame

A similar measure exists in Quebec, but the delays are much longer.

“It has mainly to do with the fact that Quebec has reduced its permanent immigration thresholds substantially,” maintains Marc-André Séguin, a lawyer specializing in the field, before adding that Ottawa is also at fault.

“In reality, the two orders of government are equally guilty” of the situation, he laments.

Anyway, Arjun Kapur does not regret having bet on French.

“I don't know how not it will be useful for me to have learned French, but it was a very important decision and perhaps one of the best decisions of my life”, he rejoices.

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