Thursday, June 02, 2005

Canadian Government's War on International Education

After my last post, Darren suggested that I should mention my sources. I don't usually have time for such things, especially when I'm on a rant. Just for Darren, however, I'll list some sources:

Also, for the reading enjoyment of any insomniacs in the crowd, here is the most recent letter I've written to an embassy. It is followed by a form letter from the embassy. After that, silence.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Canadian Embassy - Visa Section19 Dongzhimenwai Dajie
Chao Yang District Beijing 100600 PRC
Telephone: +86(10) 6532-3031
Facsimile: +86(10) 6532-1684.
Email:
beijing-immigration@international.gc.ca

To Whom It May Concern:

Re: Group from Tianjin Xinhua High School, File No.: V050501440
Group from Tianjin Foreign Languages School, File No.: V050501673


I have been informed that the Temporary Resident Permit applications for two of our summer groups were not approved. The file numbers are V050501440 and V050501673.

I was surprised and disappointed that these groups were rejected. They consist of schoolchildren who are not accompanied by their parents. These children are unlikely to overstay their status in Canada. A similar group from the same city studied here last year and the students all returned on schedule. Upon request, I can provide documentation to prove this.

The students who came last year had a pleasant and productive visit. We had hoped to establish this program as an annual tradition that would bring long-term benefits for Canada, as well as China.

This year, to ensure that everything went well, we carefully prepared the Temporary Resident Permit applications and submitted them earlier than usual. It is possible, however, that we overlooked an important detail. I would be grateful if you would explain why our groups were rejected. This information might help us prepare better applications in the future.

The news of this rejection came as a blow to everyone in our school. Our activities coordinators had carefully planned after-school excursions for the students. Dozens of Vancouver families had been looking forward to having a youngster from China in their homes. We have been recruiting teachers specifically for these students.

These groups would have brought approximately CAD$100,000 directly to Canada. That is equivalent to almost one year of work for three of our teachers. Perhaps more importantly, many of the well-educated children from these groups will never again attempt to come to Canada as students, tourists, or immigrants.

The Honourable Joe Volpe, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, recently noted that "international competition for talented international students is fierce." He was correct. The students our country rejects usually go to alternative countries, such as New Zealand, Australia, or the United Kingdom.

Consequently, it is important for people like me to understand what went wrong in a situation like this. I hope that you will be able explain what happened, so that we can plan better the next time. Any practical advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you very much for your help.

Best wishes,

Kenneth D. Gardner, President


Their Response

Dear Kenneth D. Gardner,

Please be advised that a visa decision cannot normally be changed once it is taken. This office is unable to provide information or details regarding the reasons for a refusal other that the information contained in the refusal letter.

If there is new information not previously considered or if you believe circumstances have changed since the decision was made you can file a new application and pay the processing fee. A different officer will review this new application. However, if there is no change in the applicant's situation, then it is unlikely that the application will result in the issuance of a visa.

Please know that although an invitor may provide documentation in support of an application of a friend, relative, or business contact, the decision of the visa officer is ultimately based on the applicant's circumstances, and not on any personal or financial guarantees that an invitor or others may be prepared to offer on that person's behalf.

Please do not send repeat correspondence, as we will not be able to respond.

Regards,

Visa and Immigration SectionCanadian Embassy, Beijing

My Response

Thank you for your prompt response.

Unfortunately, I have not had an opportunity to see the refusal letters. I would be very grateful if you would inform me of the reason for refusals.

Best wishes,

Kenneth D. Gardner, President

TODAY'S HEADLINES

VANCOUVER MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO OVERSEAS SEX CHARGES
The first person in Canada scheduled to be tried under the new so-called sex tourism law has avoided trial by pleading guilty to 10 counts of sexual assault.

MAYENCOURT DEFEATS STEVENSON BY 18 VOTES
More B.C. election results are in and Liberal Lorne Mayencourt has been declared the winner in Vancouver-Burrard.

NEW CLINIC COMES UNDER FIRE
A new "boutique" health-care centre in Vancouver is re-igniting the debate over private clinics.

The Copeman Healthcare Centre began taking calls Wednesday morning from people interested in joining the clinic for an annual membership fee. Founder Don Copeman says the $2,300 fee will give patients more access to their doctor.

"Most importantly they have about four times the amount of time per patient than you would see in a typical family practice."

Copeman says the centre will bill the public health-care system for any services the Medical Services Plan covers.