Foreign students: Ottawa rejects more and more French speakers, especially from Africa

While the number of English-speaking foreign students in Quebec increases, rejection rates in African countries continue to rise, and some “flawless” files are rejected. Thus, candidates who meet the criteria are prevented from continuing their studies here, they regret it.

their lawyers in immigration These “close to 100%” rates are denounced by some countries of the Maghreb and West Africa, two groups of French speakers. “It is common for a student to demonstrate a financial ability of $100,000 for the duration of their program, and have college admission, but is still refused,” notes Krishna, a Quebec attorney.

The overall rejection rate is also significantly higher in Quebec than in the rest of the country, according to data provided to Should by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). The difference is attributable, among other things, to the province’s major employment groups, compared to the rest of Canada.

In less than two years, between January 2020 and September 2021, Ottawa rejected 35,642 candidates from the main French-speaking countries of the Maghreb and West Africa who wanted to come to Quebec. Meanwhile, the number of students from India – most of whom study in English – has grown exponentially, Especially in the network of Quebec colleges.

Among the testimonies collected was that of the couple Dorothy and Mbongo, who are originally from the Republic of the Congo. They say they provided evidence of their money available in euro and local currency accounts. rent the apartments they own, the house, the cars, the business, the plots of land; All of their belongings were also evaluated, in addition to having to travel three times to the neighboring country to have their fingerprints taken by a center approved by Canada.

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“We are not needy in the Congo, nor should we believe that all Africans are so poor,” sums up the mother, who has worked for the multinational company Total for 14 years. They requested that only the first name be used for fear of hindering the study permit application in the future.

“From the moment we submitted all the papers, hardly a week happened before the rejection, as if the answer had already been done,” Dorothy notes. “Is this discrimination? “We expected an objective study of our case,” she adds.

Contrasting reasons

However, their file was “flawless”, insists their lawyer from Quebec, Krishna Ghane, but Ottawa refused. The main reason given? The immigration officer was not satisfied that they would leave Canada at the end of the study period, as required by immigration regulations.

This motive seems “completely paradoxical” for M.NS won. Indeed, regional and federal immigration policies are increasingly encouraging international students to seek permanent status after graduation.

Ottawa This year opened new horizons for permanent residence For foreign students graduating from a Canadian educational institution, ie 40,000 official places. During the announcement in April, then-Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino said he wanted to allow “those with temporary status to plan their future in Canada”. “We want you to stay”, I announced.

Quebec is also very active in overseas seductions. In 2021 alone, the government signed deals worth nearly $6 million with various organizations To “attract and retain” foreign students.

“There are a number of incentives for people to stay after their studies, which is why [évoquée par les agents d’IRCC] Contrasted with political discourse and these efforts. We condemn this aspect,” emphasizes Francis Brown, director of international affairs for the Federation of Older Persons.

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The Congolese couple did not intend to stay. The father of the family hoped that the Canadian diploma would give an international boost to his career and his company: “He simply wanted to break out of the national framework a bit, even if his company was doing very well,” he told Should his wife.

“Only with the money we spent on paperwork could we have paid for a full education in France,” the woman sighs. Mboungou has already earned his Master’s degree in France in 2020 at the University Lumière Lyon through the “much simpler” study permit procedure.

Quebec punished?

“We are not a counterpart to other immigration systems,” Brown argues. He points out in particular that the last processing periods for study permits have been longer this year, which was denounced by the government Francois Legault In a letter sent to the federal government.

Quebec suffers a penalization compared to the rest of Canada for its francophone recruitment clusters in Africa. Algeria, Senegal and Cameroon, for example, are among the top six countries of origin of foreign students in Quebec and have experienced rejection rates of over 80% in 2020 and 2021. Morocco ranks 4NS Ranked in terms of number of students, but its rejection rate is lower on average than in other African countries.

Other nationals bound for Quebec are rejected by Ottawa 80 to 90%, such as Guinea, Benin, Togo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

In other provinces, India accounts for a large portion of the foreign student pool, but its rejection rate is much lower than in these French-speaking African countries. It was only 30% for the first nine months of 2021, much lower than those of Quebec’s home countries.

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Furthermore, the rejection rate for applicants from the same country of origin is sometimes higher in Quebec than in the rest of Canada. In 2020, applications from Côte d’Ivoire, for example, were rejected by 75% in Quebec and 68% in the rest of Canada.

This gap is partly explained by a “lack of knowledge of the college network’s place in the higher education system” by IRCC, according to the students’ union. Consequently, many students’ study permit at CEGEP is denied “because the proxy considers the application to be incompatible with the course, on the basis of academic progress,” says Francis Brown.

For example, a person with a university baccalaureate degree would be considered too “advanced” by the immigration officer to do a style in CEGEP. However, African students are enrolling in programs with a “very high employability rate”, insists Nathalie Hody, international recruitment consultant at Cégep de Jonquière. This is the case in industrial sectors, for example, where applications for admission are declining from Quebec, but which nonetheless has a serious labor shortage.

Last August, five students accepted into CEGEP with merit awards were denied entry to Canada, she said. “It was a very ridiculous and difficult situation,” she continues. The scholarship, awarded by Quebec, covered the higher tuition fees for foreigners as well as living expenses. The four of them finally managed to arrive just in time for Autumn.

The rejection rate has also increased since 2017, indicating that the situation is getting worse rather than improving, notes M.NS Krishna Jani and other members of the Quebec Association of Immigration Lawyers (AQAADI). The gap between rejections in Quebec and Canada in general has also widened, according to IRCC data.

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