'I feel like I'm going somewhere I don't know': Red Deer woman forced to leave Canada after losing student visa
RED DEER -- A young woman must leave her friends and family in Red Deer and return to Germany after her student visa was revoked because high tuition costs forced her to drop out of college.
Victoria Forschle was nine years old when she moved with her family to Red Deer from Germany in June 2008.
Forschle is not a permanent resident, so she is considered an international student. International students pay higher tuition, and may not be eligible for student loans from the provincial and federal government. Additionally, international students are only allowed to work 20 hours a week.
The 21-year-old says she cannot afford the increased tuition of an international student, which forced her to drop out of college and lose her student visa.
"It became too expensive and unfeasible," said Forschle.
With no visa, she must move back to Germany without her family. She is planning on taking nursing at university with the hope of moving back to Canada once she is finished.
"Here, I don't feel like an international student, but I definitely feel like an international student going back to Germany even though I'm a German citizen," said Forschle.
"I don't actually have a lot of memories of Germany, and so I feel like I'm going somewhere that I don't know and that's really scary."
Forschle said she has exhausted all her options to stay here. She even tried putting her college aspirations on hold and applying for a work permit, but that ended up falling through due to work experience.
"I feel like I'm not being represented as a human being," said Forschle.
"I'm just a number that doesn’t qualify."
The reason she is considered an international student, even though she has lived in Red Deer for most of her life, is because her parents were never able to qualify for permanent residency.
"I've tried every avenue possible to get permanent residency," said Stefan Forschle, Victoria's father.
"There's been situations where we were almost there being able to attain it, but then they changed the rules on us."
For an individual to get permanent residency, they must accumulate points to attain a certain score to be accepted. Points are based on a myriad of factors such as age, education, and English proficiency.
Stefan Forschle has been able to stay in Canada with his work permit, which he reapplies for every two years. He said he has to reapply again at the end of this year, but with little hope of receiving his permanent residency, he is considering moving back to Germany.
"My work permit has been extended every two years but always under the premise that maybe we will get permanent residency this time," said Stefan Forschle.
"There’s no more streams for us to try, and the hope for us to stay is getting very slim."
In the end, Victoria Forschle said there's nothing that can change her situation, but she hopes by sharing her story, she can raise awareness to hopefully help other families going through a similar situation.
"The pain that I'm experiencing, I can't put that on anybody else. I can't wish that on anybody else,” said Forschle. “I just want to raise awareness to change the system."
Forschle has started a GoFundMe to help her cover the costs of moving back to Germany.