Advisory: Migrant Student Workers bring *Exploding Head* *Red Face* *Raised Fist* to Toronto as Time Runs Out on Launch of New Work Permit Program That Excludes Thousands

Migrant Students United – Migrant Workers Alliance for Change
Media Advisory

Media Contact: Sarom Rho, 416-887-8315,

Migrant Student Workers bring *Exploding Head* *Red Face* *Raised Fist* to Toronto as Time Runs Out on Launch of New Work Permit Program That Excludes Thousands

Toronto – Current and former international students will set up a photobooth in downtown Toronto, distribute materials, and make speeches on Saturday, May 28, 2022 to call for renewable post-graduate work permits for all regardless of expiry date. The federal government promised to launch a new open work permit program in June for migrant student workers with expired or expiring permits. However, the program irrationally excludes those former international students whose permits expire before January 31, 2022, even though the previous open work permit program ended in November 2021. Many migrant student workers with expired or expiring work permits are unable to work even as Canada experiences a labour shortage, and have no access to healthcare. Migrant student workers will also be calling for opening up of immigration applications; an end to the 20 hour work limit and full and permanent immigration status for all. 

WHEN: 3pm, Saturday, May 28, 2022
WHERE: Queen and Bay Street, outside City Hall, Toronto
VISUALS: Photobooth with massive *Exploding Head* *Red Face* *Raised Fist* emojis.


See our letter to Minister Sean Fraser on May 17, 2022:

  • As of December 31, 2020, there were a total of 778,560 study permit holders and post-graduate work permit holders in Canada – making them the largest group of temporary migrants in the country. 
  • To qualify for permanent residence, graduated migrant student workers must complete at least 1 year of high-waged work. This work must be completed before their non-renewable post graduate work permit (PGWP) expires. Permits vary in length from 8 months to 3 years. Most migrant student workers were unable to access these jobs during COVID-19. 
  • In January 2021, in response to Migrant Students United organizing, the federal government made PGWPs renewable, a move that stopped the deportation of 52,000 people but the temporary program expired in July 2021. The program was available to graduated students whose work permits were expiring until November 27, 2021. 
  • On April 22, 2022, federal immigration Minister Sean Fraser again responded to Migrant Students United and announced a new open work permit program for expired or expiring PGWP holders, but arbitrarily and unfairly left out those whose permits expired before January 31, 2022. 
  • On April 22, 2022, Minister Fraser, also announced the re-opening of the “Canadian Experience Class” permanent resident immigration program, which has been closed since September 2021. However, the processing has not started yet, and thousands of migrant student workers continue to become undocumented, or cannot work. 
  • The Canadian Experience Class is also only available to migrants in high-waged work, while the most essential jobs in Canada, in industries with the highest labour shortages, are low-waged jobs, many of which are being done by migrant student workers. 
  • Migrant student tuition increased 7.25% in 2020, while domestic student tuition increased by 1.65%.  Post-secondary institutions exploit migrant students, as can be seen in the case of Alpha College in Scarborough. 
  • Migrant student workers in public institutions face restrictions on their study permits and can only work 20 hours per week off-campus. 
  • With high tuition fees and limited income, many international students work past the 20 hour limit, forcing them to work under the table, which opens them up to labour exploitation.