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French national denied Quebec residency over language proficiency

French national denied Quebec residency over language proficiency
Canada
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There’s little doubt in Emilie Dubois’ own mind about her ability to speak French — after all, it’s her native tongue.

But the Quebec government doesn’t see Dubois’ bona fides the way she does, having denied her permanent residency in the province because part of her PhD thesis was written in English.

“The first letter said you are not proving you know how to speak French because your thesis is considered to be written in English,” Dubois, a Quebec City-based scientific graphic designer, said in an interview.

Dubois, who completed her doctorate at Universite Laval in January 2018, said one out of five chapters of her thesis on cellular and molecular biology was in English because it was based on a published English article in a scientific journal.

That was enough for the government to rule her level of French wasn’t sufficient to obtain a selection certificate under the Quebec experience program, noting in a letter she didn’t complete her study entirely in French.

In place since 2010, the popular program allows foreign students with a qualifying diploma or people with work experience in the province to receive an expedited selection certificate, fast-tracking residency and making it possible to stay.

Flabbergasted by the response, Dubois contacted the government herself.

“I told them, ‘I don’t understand, I’m French, I’ve been speaking French since my childhood … so it’s nonsense you’re telling me I don’t speak French,” she said.
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