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The puzzle of French expats stranded in Quebec

In Canada, young French people look gloomy. Many want to stay after obtaining work permits, but the pandemic has often caused them to lose their jobs, which are necessary to stay in the country. This is the case of Clara, who is in a rather inextricable situation.

“I would have had to be in a full-time job four months ago to have my quota, and I work a year without taking vacations, for example,” explains the young expat. “It is true that for once, I have no more hope. I know that I will not have my hours before my visa ends.”

The only thing we are sure of is that we want to continue our experience in Canada.“Clara insists.” Immigration still puts up barriers that are great. In the end, it is still an obstacle to freedom in the sense that you stay in the country because you want to have a new visa and stay. But in the meantime, I am not allowed to go anywhere else because I am never sure I can return.

The end of a golden age?

Clara’s example, unfortunately, is not isolated. The pandemic ended a fairly golden period. Since 2003, the work and vacation permit has been the preferred option for young French people to quickly settle in Canada. Once the fees of about 250 euros have been paid, you can work in the country for two years.

Before it was very easy to get it. But the “WHV” as it is called, has become so popular that from now on, we must expect to be attracted. Most of the time, French people from Canada choose to settle in Quebec, but to hope to stay longer in this province, after this first permit, you must show that you have worked the equivalent of one year full time before submitting your application .

And with the pandemic, many WHVs have lost their jobs for several months and already know they won’t be able to stay, even if they want to. Some also do not have the possibility of returning to France, with the current restrictions, except for a definitive return, because their visa has not expired.

Therefore, it is a real headache and a lack of love for those who wanted to stay and will not be able to. They are asking Canada for an extension of this “vacation and work permit” for those who are there, as other countries have done. But the Canadian government confirmed to us that this was not on the agenda.

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