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Student permit applications from African clients continue to face massive denials by the federal government in post-secondary institutions in Ontario and Canada’s Francophonie. ONFR+ has contacted nearly a dozen institutions in Ontario and across the country, who have reported rates between 60% and 90% for the current academic session.
The situation has therefore hardly changed since last year, when companies reported similar figures. However, last February, Secretary of State for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (IRCC) Sean Fraser claimed he had “taken action to address this problem” of rejection rates.
These high rejection rates are striking at the University of French Ontario (UOF), where the federal government only accepted 45 international admissions out of a total of 365 applications. That means 88% of the offers have not been accepted, but the UOF says some may be diverted to the 2023 winter session. The 320 rejected applications for admission alone represent more than the total number of 284 UOF students.
At La Cité, we have to deal with a 70% rejection rate, says Pascale Montminy, communications director at the province’s largest French-speaking university. To do this, the college must “make 15 to 20 offers to applicants so that ten students accept our offer and three of them get a study permit”.
In Northern Ontario, the Collège Boréal says it does not have a rejection rate “because students may not enroll with us for a number of reasons and do not always share them with us.” But more than 400 requests offered have not received any responses from French-speaking African countries, while the institution has 400 international students, or 26% of its clientele.
In Hearst, where almost 100% of the international student body is African, it is stated that there is a cohort of 83 international students out of a total of 207 approved applications for study permits, which would correspond to an acceptance rate of 40%. However, the university states that it has made offers of admission to a total of 429 people. However, its rector, Luc Bussières, says it is impossible to know if these 429 people themselves applied for a study permit, which would then reduce the acceptance rate to 20%.
The University of Ottawa and Laurentian narrated ONFR+ that they were waiting for IRCC to provide them with data on their own rejection rates. Last year, Laurentian said that 85% of applications were denied in the last two years.
Not just in Ontario
The problem is not limited to Ontario. In Quebec, several universities and colleges have reported high rates of rejection in recent months. This is also the case in New Brunswick at the Université de Moncton. The largest non-Quebec French-speaking university in the country claims to have had a 25% acceptance rate, according to its latest 2021 data. Of the university’s 1,600 offers of admission, 1,200 were rejected or remained unanswered.
In Manitoba, at Saint-Boniface University, out of a total of 315 applications submitted, just over 60 registrations come from abroad, which corresponds to a conversion rate of around 20%. These are almost 250 international students who have either received no response from IRCC or have been rejected or the students have not taken steps to obtain a study permit.
That will change, says Trudeau
The issue returned to the Francophonie Summit in Djerba with African nations calling on Canada to open up more to African students, Radio-Canada reported on Sunday. When asked to respond, Justin Trudeau assured his government would rectify the situation, which he describes as troubling.
“I have asked Secretary Fraser of Immigration Services directly to look into this matter. We need more francophone students. We need more francophone immigrants in Canada and we will do everything we can to solve these challenges and to speed up and improve the process for welcoming students from francophone Africa. »
IRCC, through Minister Sean Fraser, had acknowledged the existence of racism within its organization in a message released discreetly in September in response to a report by a parliamentary committee.
“We would like this system to be checked (…) because requests from Africa are granted much less frequently than requests from other countries,” hopes UOF Rector Pierre Ouellette.