Quebec government overturns decision to deny French student permanent residency because one chapter of her scientific thesis was in English
- The government invalidated the decision on Friday after Emilie Dubois’s rejection made international headlines
- Dubois, 31, moved from her native France to Quebec, Canada, in 2012
- She graduated from Universite Laval with a PhD in biology in 2018
- Dubois applied for permanent residency so she could continue living in Quebec
- Officials initially denied her application after determining her French language skills were insufficient because one chapter in her PhD thesis was in English
Canada’s French-speaking province Quebec has overturned a decision to deny residency to a French student because one chapter of her thesis at a French-language university was in English.
The government invalidated the decision on Friday after Emilie Dubois’s rejection made international headlines as people questioned how the native of France’s French language skills could be deemed insufficient.
Dubois, 31, told The Globe and Mail that officials have assured her she will soon be sent a selection certificate allowing her to move forward with her application for permanent residency in Canada under the Quebec experience program.
‘I cried,’ Dubois said of the moment she learned the decision was overturned. ‘I really felt like a weight on my shoulders had been lifted.’
Canada’s French-speaking province Quebec overturned a decision to deny residency to French student Emilie Dubois (pictured) because one chapter of her PhD thesis at a French-language university was in English
Dubois moved to Canada from France in 2012 and completed her doctorate in biology at Universite Laval in 2018.
As part of her PhD, she wrote a thesis on cellular and molecular biology in which one of the five chapters was in English, because it was based on an English article published in a scientific journal, a common practice at the university.
Quebecois officials invalidated the decision on Friday after Dubois’s rejection made international headlines
The rest of her course, including seminars and lectures, was all conducted in French.
But Quebecois authorities said her thesis proved the French citizen, who started her own business after graduating, was unable to demonstrate adequate French-language proficiency.
She said: ‘It’s like an avalanche is falling on my head and I don’t know why.’
In a letter sent to Dubois earlier this year, the Immigration Ministry said she had not demonstrated the level of French required to receive a Quebec selection certificate, which is the first step toward permanent residency.
The letter said, according to Radio Canada: ‘You did not complete program of study in Quebec entirely in French, including the dissertation or thesis.’
Dubois, 31, moved to Canada from France in 2012 and completed her doctorate in biology at Universite Laval (pictured) in 2018
She was first informed of the problem in December 2018 and soon after she took a recognized French test, which cost her $200, and sent the results to the government.
But this did not help her case and she then received the letter stating she would be denied immigrant status.
She said: ‘My whole life is here. You can’t tell me that I cannot prove that I can speak French and then tell me that I have to return to France!’
Dubois’s case captured the attention of local provincial assembly member, Catherine Dorion, who offered to help her get it overturned.
‘I’m going to call all the people and all the minister’s offices it takes to say: “There, find me an answer, it does not make sense,”‘ Dorion told Radio Canada.
Quebec’s immigration minister said Thursday that the decision ‘doesn’t seem to make much sense’ and asked officials to look into it.
The province has a unique immigration arrangement with Canada’s federal government, giving it wider powers.
A potential immigrant must obtain a ‘selection certificate’ from Quebec before they can apply for permanent residence with the federal government.
‘I cried,’ Dubois said of the moment she learned the decision was overturned. ‘I really felt like a weight on my shoulders had been lifted’
Dubois’s entire course at Universite Laval was conducted in French (file photo)