[lg policy] Quebec Offers Fast-Tracked Canadian Citizenship to Foreign Students

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at GMAIL.COM
Wed Feb 3 15:01:38 UTC 2010

Quebec Offers Fast-Tracked Canadian Citizenship to Foreign Students
By Karen Birchard

Quebec is playing the citizenship card in a bid to recruit to Canada
foreign students who might otherwise be tempted to study in Australia,
Britain, or the United States.
The province's premier, Jean Charest, who is leading a delegation of
university heads on a visit to India, told a packed meeting at the
University of Mumbai on Monday that, starting on February 14, foreign
students who graduated from universities in Quebec would get "a
certificate of selection" that would put them on a fast track to
Canadian citizenship. "Any student who secures a bachelor's, master's,
or doctoral degree from any university in Quebec will obtain a
certificate of selection to become a citizen of Canada ," said Mr.
Charest, according to The Times of India. "We have the right to select
our own citizens. We are doing this because we have a shortage of
skilled labor."

Mr. Charest said that once foreign students had the certificate, the
federal government would then carry out security and health checks
before awarding citizenship. The premier's announcement is likely to
encourage Indian students to think about Canada, especially in the
wake of a surprise report over the weekend that British authorities
had temporarily suspended all student-visa applications from northern
India, Nepal, and Bangladesh because of suspicions that not all
applicants were genuine students. British visa offices were inundated
with an unusually large number of applications from the region, a
development that set off fears of fraud.

Recent racial violence against Indian students in Australia as well as
the sudden closure of four Australian colleges that left thousands of
Indian students out of pocket and without credentials may be cooling
the attraction of studying in Australia. And Canadian universities
believe they can significantly increase their enrollments from India.
The Quebec universities, like their counterparts in other provinces,
already have a number of partnerships with Indian institutions. "Over
the last few years, we've seen, right across the country, Canadian
universities showing an increased interest in strategic engagement
with India," said Pari Johnston, international director of the
Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada. "They've stepped
up efforts in terms of recruitment, joint research partnerships, joint
program development, and sending our own students to India for
exchanges and internships."

A pilot project run by Canadian immigration authorities and community
colleges to speed up applications from India has doubled the
acceptance rate, according to a report released by the government last
Friday. It showed that processing visas took an average of about two
and a half weeks. The program is designed to uncover any fraud with a
variety of checks, including a requirement that applicants provide
verifiable documentation and a feedback mechanism in which colleges
report back on whether students show up.



 Harold F. Schiffman

Professor Emeritus of
 Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Phone:  (215) 898-7475
Fax:  (215) 573-2138

Email:  haroldfs at gmail.com

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