Immigration reform is sowing alarm among foreign students

La réforme de l'immigration sème l'inquiétude chez les étudiants étrangers

Photo: Jeff Pachoud Agence France-Presse
The bill 9 sends a very bad signal to the foreign students who already have to cope with the deregulation of tuition fees.

The cancellation of the 18 000 records of application pending at the quebec ministry of Immigration makes us fear the worst to doctoral candidates and post-doctoral fellows are foreigners. A situation which denounce of academic associations.

Bahman Khabiri, 33 years old, left Iran in 2016, to do his phd in engineering at Sherbrooke. “After a year, I found that it was charming and I decided to make my life here,” he recounted in an email exchange this week. In 2017, he enrolled in the program of Quebec skilled worker for immigrating. He hoped to get his certificate of selection shortly when the government announced that the 18 000 cases pending would be cancelled.

“They have ruined my life,” said the student, who doubt that it can be received by enrolling in the new system Arrima. He is also afraid of losing points because of his age and because he has worked little in the past five years, which was not the case when it is inscribed in 2017.

The research of Bahman focus on bio-filters to eliminate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions such as methane using bacteria. “As you can see, I’m doing something good for Quebec ! “, he said.

The Grouping of students of master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Sherbrooke (REMDUS) estimated that between 10 and 25 students are affected by the bill 9. “These are students in engineering, immunology, and administration,” says spokesman Kevin Galipeault.

When we pointed out to her that it is a relatively small part of the overall student population (approximately 42,000), it responds that they are ” too much “. “Especially when you think of what they bring to the quebec society,” he says. “We must not forget that this is just for the University of Sherbrooke. There are those of other universities also. “

On other campuses, the associations, joined by The Need to say they are also concerned about the problem, but are unable to say how many students are affected. “We don’t have figures, it is in the process of trying to get them,” explains Matis Allali, secretary-general of the Fédération des associations étudiantes du campus de l’université de Montréal (FAECUM). “It is certain in our opinion that we have more than 20 people who are affected by it. It might be proportional to what we see at the University of Sherbrooke if not more, because we have many students who come to the international. “

At Université Laval, we don’t have figures either, supports the Association of students of Laval enrolled in graduate studies (AELIES), which has not received any calls of students affected. With regard to Concordia and McGill University, their student associations have not recalled The Duty this week.

Two students have also included their testimony in the lawsuit brought by the quebec Association of lawyers and lawyers in immigration law (québec immigration lawyers association) against the government. Ms. Seeun Park, degree in nursing in Korea who is studying French here in order to practice in Quebec, as well as Fernanda Pérez Gay Juarez, a student in neuroscience at McGill University, originally from Mexico.

According to the student Union in Quebec (UEQ), which includes eight student associations, the impact of bill 9 on the students ” are quite unclear for the moment “. But its president, William of the Body, said to follow the case closely, and deplores the fact that “the willingness” of the government to adopt the draft law deprives them of the necessary time to put all this in the clear.

One thing is certain, he says, this sends a very bad signal to the foreign students who already have to cope with the deregulation of tuition fees. “Once again, we created measures that have a deterrent effect on the immigration process for international students “.

Not worse than before, according to the office of the minister

For the time being, only students of Sherbrooke provide for short-term action against the reform, through meetings with their members of the local including. The spokesperson for the REMDUS also made a presentation in February during a gathering of Québec solidaire, at Ahuntsic college, in Montreal.

Attached to Friday, the office of the minister of Immigration, Simon Jolin-Barrette, believes that the concerns of the students are unfounded. Those among the 18 000 who are in Quebec (the 3700) will be treated as a priority in Arrima, recalls his press secretary, Marc-André Gosselin. “These people would not have necessarily been received in the old system,” he says, pointing out that the processing of the files will be faster in Arrima.

Revived in this regard, the REMDUS replies that though the government has promised to treat the files as a priority, but that only 400 people among the 3700 will be received this year, according to a recent analysis by the department disseminated in the media.

Christophe Duret, political advisor to the REMDUS, adds that by submitting a new application, students may lose points for their age now higher. “What worries us most is the general direction of the new programme “, he adds. “It is fine to want to align immigration according to the needs of labor, but the problem with graduate students and post-doctoral studies is that you can’t quantify the value that these people can bring in Québec. “


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