Student visa refusals are on the rise

Student visa denials are on the rise

DAY

Dozens of cases of foreign students being refused their student visa by Immigration Citizenship Canada have been listed in CEGEPs in Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean, a situation denounced by educational establishments and elected officials. 

Francophones from Africa are often confronted with this problem.

Kadiatou Diallo submitted her student visa application last June and was to begin a nursing technique at Alma College. Her dream was taken away when she received the response from Immigration Citizenship Canada.

“My visa has been refused. I am really very, very disappointed and sad,” she lamented.

One of the reasons mentioned: the fear that the student will not return to her country at the end of her school career .

“We see a contradiction in the messages in the sense that in Quebec, we have just announced extensions of tuition fees, among other things in computer science and nursing, because we are short of manpower,” mentioned Frédéric. Tremblay, communications advisor for the Collège d'Alma.

Bloquiste MP for Jonquière, Mario Simard, is trying to move the file forward. It was a resident of his constituency who contacted him. This is Mrs. Diallo's adoptive aunt who has supported her since she was very young.

“We know that there is a provincial program, the PEQ, which aims to keep foreign students in Quebec and there it is strange because we are told by the federal government that we are afraid that they will not return. not in their country at the end of their studies. It’s completely illogical,” exclaimed Mr. Simard.

Another reason raised: the lack of financial capacity. In the case of Kadiatou Diallo, her adopted aunt has proven her ability to support her financially.

Not the only one 

At Cégep de Jonquière, three scholarship recipients from Africa are grappling with the same problem.

“For example, they received refusals for financial incapacity when they were funded study here. It is a situation similar to what other students from other countries also have, although they are not asked for as much proof and the procedures are not as laborious”, noted Sabrina Potvin, communication advisor. for Cégep de Jonquière.

“I have the impression that the federal government is discriminating against French-speaking students, which is not even hidden,” claimed the Bloc Québécois MP for Jonquière. 

And the statistics speak of themselves. In 2021, the Cégep de Chicoutimi recorded 77% student visa refusals, 53% at the Cégep de Jonquière and 57% at the Université du Québec à Chicoutimi. If we compare with an English-speaking institution like McGill University, we are talking about a meager 9%.

“We have a labor shortage, we have a decline in French and what the federal government is doing, once again, is harming Francophone immigration by refusing students who would come and give us a helping hand. a hand in a sector where we really need it,” he said.

“Since I was very young, I dreamed of going to Quebec to study and have a good job,” recalled the 25-year-old student.

“The contribution of students from outside the region, from major centres, but also from abroad, is important for the survival of our establishments in the regions,” admitted Mr. Tremblay.

< p>What's going on? 

At Alma College, out of nearly 350 international applications, 175 are from Africa. However, of the 57 new international students admitted, only about ten are French-speaking Africans.

“The mainly French-speaking African clientele represents in our international recruitment efforts approximately 80% of our efforts, but for maybe 5-10% results,” observed the communications advisor.

“If they reverse the visa application and I can get it that would be really great,” wishes Kadiatou Diallo.

Mario Simard does not intend to stop there. He will take other steps with the minister so that the decision can be reviewed.

“I and Alexis-Brunelle Duceppe have decided not to let any case pass and to denounce them whenever it happens. is brought to our attention,” he promised.