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Kristina Michaud, Member of Parliament from Quebec for Avignon-La Mitis-Matane-Matapédia and spokesperson for Bloc Québécois raised concerns over high study visa refusals by IRCC for international students applying for Quebec colleges. She also called on IRCC to reduce backlog for international students applications in coordination with Quebec Education Ministry. She also said that recent measures and $85 million investment by IRCC is yet to reflect at ground level.

She was answered by Élisabeth Brière, Federal MP for Sherbrooke and Associate Minister of Health. This discussion was originally in French language and happened on February 7, 2022. Audio of this video was interpreted in English. We have generated transcript below for you to read the discussion in your preferred language for better understanding. Select your language below:

Kristina Michaud: There’s also the issue of student recruitment. Foreign students need to pay a significant amount to be trained in Quebec and then they need to face a great deal of bureaucracy and red tape in the immigration department.

Very often our schools train foreign students and then once they’re done, they move to Ontario, Ontario because it’s easier to get Canadian citizenship there. This happens a lot and it’s very bad for Quebec because we are training the next generation of workers, but we can’t keep them. but there would be solutions.

For example, the federal department of immigration could better coordinate with the Quebec Education Ministry in order to make it easier to recognize credentials. And in order to reduce the backlog for international students applications and ensure that they can start their studies on time.

The federal government could also make it a priority to process immigration files from candidates who already have a job offer and make it easier for them to integrate in Quebec, by ensuring that it takes the same amount of time for them to become citizens there as is in the other provinces.

Apparently though that’s just too complicated which means that our entrepreneurs are having to reduce production reduce supply and reduce their profits due to a lack of staff. And meanwhile people who specifically want to move to Quebec are being told, NO by the federal government, seeing their applications generally refused by immigration Canada.

For example, Aurélien, a 29-year-old Cameroonian. He is francophone and has a mechanical engineering diploma. He wanted to enter the ___ profession in my riding for soldering. And, this is an area where there is a great deal of a very serious labor shortage in Quebec. And, so his application was so excellent that the government of Quebec offered him an excellence grant, so that he wouldn’t have to pay tuition.

But once again his application was refused by an officer at immigration at IRCC federally. Why? Because the officer says that he’s not convinced that Aurélien will leave Canada at the end of his stay. It’s a real injustice and he’s not the only one going through this.

According to Radio-Canada, applications from Cameroon are generally rejected by our IRCC. In 2020, 88% were refused throughout the Country and there are similar numbers for people from Côte d’Ivoire(Ivory Coast), Benin, Algeria, Democratic Republic of Congo and Togo.

So, Aurélien had to give up on his dream of living in Quebec, which also means that the economy of Matane-Mitis are suffering. We need more labor. It’s serious. Why isn’t the federal government doing something? It makes no sense.

Élisabeth Brière: Perhaps that speech was written before, she became aware of what the minister announced last week about 85 million dollars out of the economic update. Backlogs are being processed 87% more quickly and there is a new system for permanent residents. As of recently, IRCC has also increased its processing capacity for permanent residents with the record number of a million decisions taken in 2021.

And, for those who want to come live in Canada, IRCC has stated that it will finalize 147,000 requests over 2022. There are four or five other things that I would like to add, but I don’t have time. But, I think it’s very clear that the minister is very engaged and dynamic and wants to improve the situation.

Kristina Michaud: Thank you! I’d like to thank my colleague for a question or rather her comment, indeed we are happy that the minister is in good faith and wants to move things forward. However, although, many investments may have been made recently, it’s not reflected in the situation on the ground and often we have to deal with immigration files, because immigration Canada doesn’t seem to be able to deal with its own files.

People like Aurélien who I mentioned, who wants to come live in Matane and become a welder, is seeing issues. So, it’s all very well to make investments, but we need to see that reflected on the ground.

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