Monday, March 20, 2023

Canada is foolish to snub international graduate students and scholars

In January 2017, Donald Trump, then President of the United States, banned people from predominantly Muslim countries from entering the US.

In response, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau praised Canada as an open and welcoming nation.

But some criticized Trudeau’s #WelcomeToCanada tweet, calling it a sign of virtue and saying it offered false hope and perpetuated a misrepresentation of Canadian immigration practices.

Despite Trudeau’s words of welcome and the general public’s perception of Canada as a friendly and welcoming place, many people who try to come to our country face distinctly unwelcoming realities.

visiting students

Canadian universities welcome thousands of visiting students each year. Many of them come from low- and middle-income countries to bring diversity, talent and knowledge to communities across the country, as well as help create economic advantage, according to a report by the House Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration. common.

The report highlights the immense impacts of severe delays in Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) on graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. Between 2016 and 2020, more than half a million people were turned down for study permits in Canada.

Many of these exceptional individuals were already qualified and accepted into leading programs and often sponsored by Canadian research grants and fellowships. These brilliant minds probably chose to continue their studies elsewhere or not at all. IRCC denials of study permits and visas are a tragedy for them and a great loss for Canada.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, international student permit processing times have more than doubled. Instead of the standard 60 days, students in some regions experience delays of more than 200 days.

These delays are happening even for people already living and studying in Canada, who are simply applying for a standard, permitted and encouraged postgraduate job.

Read more: Canada’s changing coronavirus border policy exposes the precarious state of international students

Students in low- and middle-income countries such as Nigeria, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan are experiencing exceptionally long delays, revealing patterns of systemic discrimination and racism.

A staggering 69 percent of African students, particularly from francophone countries, were rejected compared to the average rejection rate of 41 percent for students from non-African countries. Rejection rates were even higher for students from Ethiopia (88 percent), Ghana (82 percent), and Rwanda (81 percent).

Students purposely recruited for Canadian universities, often as part of strategies that align with government immigration strategies, suddenly find themselves facing illogical visa rejections and delays.

This places them at a great disadvantage, generating and exacerbating inequities. People living in underserved regions of the world with fewer processing centers face long travel distances to provide Canadian authorities with required biometrics and often bear excessive costs to duplicate documentation that is considered “expired” before it is processed. your applications are processed.

A Black Student In A White T-Shirt And Knit Cap Speaks Into A Microphone Among Other Students.
A student asks Prime Minister Justin Trudeau a question at Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar, Senegal, in February 2020.

Constant inequality, discrimination

Members of the Canadian Association for Global Health University Advisory Council, which represents 25 member universities from across Canada, find that ongoing inequalities and discrimination are affecting their ability to partner, support and engage with scholars from around the world.

During a recent discussion on the impacts of visa delays and refusals on students and postdoctoral fellows, our members described an opaque and unpredictable system, with egregiously discriminatory visa refusals for students from low- and middle-income countries. That contrasts sharply with those seeking to enter Canada from high-income countries like the United States or Australia.

IRCC’s inconsistency makes it impossible to predict or advise applicants, creates a strain on systems due to wasted time and duplication of effort, and severely affects the research programs of top Canadian researchers, inside and outside the universities.

For graduate students and fellows already studying in Canada, delays create fear and anxiety, and restrict the freedom to travel due to the risk of being denied re-entry.

Long waiting periods for IRCC responses threaten your income and access to basic benefits like health and childcare because, without a valid visa or study permit, universities cannot process your scholarship payments or job.

Two Students Wearing Masks Walk On A College Campus.
Students walk near the University of Toronto campus in June 2020.

The toll on the Canadian research ecosystem cannot be underestimated, not to mention the crippling impacts on people left in a precarious, life-altering limbo as they wait for their fate to be determined by an unpredictable and unpredictable bureaucratic decision-making process. revealed that only those understand. within the system.

Canada must do better.

While the IRCC has implemented employee training and other initiatives to address racism and prejudice in its ranks, evidence suggests much work remains to be done.

Given Canada’s history of racism and discrimination in its immigration policies, ensuring equitable policies and practices requires greater degrees of transparency and accountability than currently exist.

call to action

As co-chairs of the Canadian Association for Global Health University Advisory Council, we fully support the 35 recommendations put forward by the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration in its May 2022 report.

We echo the urgency of the report and add our voice to ask:

  1. The elimination of the anti-African racism manifest in the current processes;
  2. Transparency about decisions and reasons for refusals;
  3. The creation of an immediate mechanism to grant students and postdoctoral fellows already in Canada a grace period while the IRCC backlog is resolved.

International students are not only ideal candidates to settle in Canada, they are also vital to Canada’s prosperity.

Canada faces more than a million job vacancies and a shrinking population. The standing committee report makes clear that the successful integration and retention of international students is key to filling labor shortages, including in rural and remote areas, addressing Canada’s demographic decline, and meeting speaking population goals. French federal government.

As Canada prepares to host the AIDS 2022 international conference in Montreal, which will bring together more than 20,000 academics, activists and students from around the world, our global reputation is becoming one of red tape and closed doors. We can and must do better.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
Nation World News is the fastest emerging news website covering all the latest news, world’s top stories, science news entertainment sports cricket’s latest discoveries, new technology gadgets, politics news, and more.
Latest news
Related news