In 2013, approximately 55,000 French citizens were registered at the French Consulate in Montreal, revealing a 45% increase in immigration from France since 2005.
A consulate spokesman estimates that only about half of those from France register in Canada, meaning there are actually approximately 110,000 French citizens in Montreal. Toronto and Quebec City are the next most popular destinations for French citizens in Canada.
Many of the immigrants view Montreal as a place of opportunity that France has never been. Montreal provides those of French descent with the freedom of a democratic and progressive lifestyle, as well as a French culture similar to home.
Christian Faure, a renowned chef who moved from France to Montreal, told the Huffington Post that Montreal is a “city of arts and theatre, and it encourages young people.” Faure recently opened a pastry shop and cooking school in Old Montreal, crediting his success largely to the accepting nature of Montreal’s culture.
France has a slumping economy and a high unemployment rate, and several immigrants aged 25-40 have arrived in Montreal in search of opportunity for employment. Edith Courtial moved to Montreal within the last 2 years, and is happy with her decision. She has a degree in hotel management, and the Huffington Post quoted her saying, “In France, when you’re looking for work, you’re really tied to your diploma.”
France is among the top immigrant countries of origin in Quebec, alongside Algeria, Morocco, China and Haiti. 30,000 immigrants from France have gained permanent resident status in Quebec over the past 10 years, but the consulate has explained that this number excludes the high volume of those here on temporary student and work-travel visas.
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