A French student’s application for permanent residency in Quebec City, Canada, was rejected because the immigration ministry felt she didn’t demonstrate the level of French required. Émilie Dubois, a 31-year-old doctoral student, was denied residency as one of the chapters of her PhD thesis was in English.
The Immigration Ministry, in a letter to Dubois, said that she did not complete the program of study in Quebec entirely in French, including the dissertation or thesis. One of five chapters in the thesis submitted by Dubois on cellular and molecular biology was written in English since it was meant for publishing in a scientific journal. Under Quebec’s experience program, an applicant needs to get Quebec selection certificate as the first step toward permanent residency which the ministry denied.
Dubois found the reasoning given by the ministry absurd. Talking to a Canadian news channel, she said that she has a diploma from a francophone university. Dubois added that she is a French citizen and she did all of her studies in French. One of the five chapters of her PhD thesis was written in English as it was a scholarly article published in a scientific journal.
Quebec has French-speaking majority and the government has a Quebec Experience Program (PEQ) which offers permanent residency to international students and temporary foreign workers in a fast-tracked manner. Dubois had applied for residency under PEQ as she was confident of her eligibility under the expedited program.
People on social media slammed the government’s decision and called it incompetent. “A French woman doesn’t have proficiency?? We’ll be the laughing stock of the world. What quality of individuals are working in government offices,” wrote a user. “Was the original decision was machine-generated? Surely a rational human would make a different ruling,” wrote another user. Meanwhile, Christopher Skeete, the parliamentary secretary responsible for relations with the English-speaking community, said that the decision is being reviewed.
(With Inputs from Agencies)