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International students choosing to study in Quebec do so at an exorbitant cost, paying tens of thousands of dollar more than Quebecers for the privilege. Many of them do so with the promise of being able to apply for permanent resident status after their studies.
However, they are obligated to satisfy the French language standards through the Quebec Experience Program (QEP), which can earn them a Quebec Selection Certificate, and permanent resident status.
In order to attain the certificate most students take French courses offered by various school boards across Montreal, and many have successfully attained the certificate and applied to stay in Quebec.
However, since last year the Quebec government has been going after many of these international students, questioning their proficiency in French and accusing them of lying on their applications, suggesting that they: “provided information or a document that is false or misleading regarding your level of knowledge of the French language.”
This in spite of the fact that most of the students paid thousands of dollars to complete the government-approved language and vocational course called the Programme d’expérience québécoise (PEQ).
Fo Niemi, director of Centre for Research Action on Race Relations (CRARR), accuses the government of wrongfully targeting and profiling these students, many of whom come from the Middle East, India, China and other regions around the world.
Fo Niemi is submitting a complaint to Quebec’s ombudsman hoping to take the students’ cases to Quebec’s human rights commission.
Quebec’s Ministry of Immigration, Diversity and Inclusiveness have yet to comment on the issue.