Quebec Reverses Decision on French Citizen’s Immigration Application

Quebec Reverses Decision on French Citizen’s Immigration Application


MONTREAL — A French woman whose desire to immigrate to Quebec was upended because she wrote a chapter of her doctoral thesis in English will receive a document necessary to remain in the province, she said on Monday.

The woman, Émilie Dubois, a 31-year-old Francophone from Burgundy, had applied for a certificate required to settle permanently in Quebec.

But Quebec authorities, alluding to the chapter of her biology doctorate written in English, initially rejected her application on the grounds that she had not demonstrated sufficient proficiency in French.

After an international outcry, the authorities called Ms. Dubois to let her know they had reversed their decision, she said on Monday.

“I am happy and relieved, but I hope my case has raised awareness about the government’s immigration policies,” she said by phone from Quebec City. “It is not a good strategy to turn away the best and brightest students if Quebec wants to improve its economy.”

The right-leaning government of the Quebec premier, François Legault, came to power last year with a promise to limit immigration. It has been exploring policies that would narrow the criteria for newcomers, including students, to gain residency.

Immigrants coming to Quebec will also soon have to pass a values test to assure they understand Quebec’s approach to issues such as gender equality.

The government’s efforts to rein in immigration have prompted concerns that Quebec, home to some of the country’s leading universities, will no longer be as attractive to talented international students who once viewed studying in the province as a pathway to gaining Canadian residency and eventual citizenship.

The province is determined to uphold French, the language of government, commerce and the courts. Mr. Legault has made clear that while he wants to reduce the number of immigrants coming to Quebec, he is eager to attract skilled labor from France.

Nevertheless, Ms. Dubois’s initial application was turned down despite the fact that she completed a biology doctorate at Laval University in Quebec City, a French-language university. She also started a scientific graphic design company.



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