Migrant Students United Policy Submission to Global Affairs Canada and IRCC 2023

Fairness Agenda for Migrant Student Workers

Submissions from Migrant Workers Alliance for Change, July 2023

The Migrant Workers Alliance for Change is a membership based organization of migrants. Our membership includes over 25,700 migrant student workers (current and former international students), and we are the only cross-country organization that represents international student workers during and after their study. We have chapters in Ontario, British Columbia and Newfoundland, and members in every province and territory. Over the last 12 months, we carried out surveys, focus groups and organizing meetings with over 5,000 current and former international students to determine migrant student worker priorities culminating in the formulation of a “Fairness Agenda for Migrant Student Workers” which is summarized here.  

Our central recommendation is that all low-wage working class people, including those arriving on study permits today, should do so with permanent resident status, as it is the only existing mechanism to access equal rights and protections. 

Our submissions: 

ISP Recommendations for Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada

Changes for migrant students prior to arrival

  • Recommendation: Create an International Students Recruiter Regulatory Regime
  • Recommendation: End discriminatory study permit processing

Changes for migrant students while studying

  • Recommendation: Permanently remove restrictions on hours of work during study (20 hour work rule)
  • Recommendation: Create an untied work permit for vulnerable and destitute migrant student workers

Changes for migrant students upon graduation

  • Recommendation: Make the post-graduate work permit (PGWP) permanently renewable
  • Recommendation: Allow students who graduated from private colleges to apply for post-graduate work permits
  • Recommendation: Remove restrictive requirements for spouses of PGWP holders

Changes for migrant student workers applying for permanent residency

  • Recommendation:  Fix Express Entry by valuing all work, lowering the CRS scores, and increasing levels to ensure permanent residency for all
  • Recommendation: Remove exclusionary requirements in provincial programs
  • Recommendation: Allow migrants to fix errors in permanent residency applications

Coordination with provincial and territorial partners

  • Recommendation: Implement mechanisms to ensure tuition fees, rate of fee increases and in-school support are equal to domestic students
  • Recommendation: Implement a decent work agenda, including protections against wage theft and labour exploitation
  • Recommendation: Ensure healthcare for all current and former international students
  • Recommendation: Ensure safe housing on- and off-campus