Migrant Students United – Migrant Workers Alliance for Change
Graduated International Students Sound the Alarm As Canada Slashes Immigration Program in Half
Toronto – Current and former international students (Migrant Student Workers) are speaking out after Canada slashed the Express Entry program in half for 2022 and 2023. The Express Entry program is the only pathway to permanent residence for most of the 778,560 migrant student workers in Canada. To qualify, migrant student workers must have completed at least 1 year of high-waged work, which was impossible for many due to the pandemic. With half as many spots, many tens of thousands will not be able to complete the increased requirements and will be forced to become undocumented or leave the country. Immigration rules limit the number of hours that migrant student workers can work, even as COVID-19, and now the war in Ukraine, has created a global economic crisis and many migrant student worker families are unable to support them. International student tuition increased seven times more than domestic tuition in 2020. With Canada facing a labour shortage, Migrant Students Workers are calling for renewable Post-Graduate Work Permits, an end to the 20 hour work limit on study permits, and access to permanent resident status so that they can live and work in Canada with equal rights.
WHEN: 10am EST, Thursday March 10, 2022
WHERE: Online via Zoom, register in advance for the link: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_nKzlovfiTPaSRMgjk7K4Ig
WHAT: Migrant Student Workers call for renewable Post-Graduate Work Permits, an end to the 20 hour work limit on study permits, and access to permanent resident status.
WHO: Jennifer Scott, President, Gig Workers United; Bipin Kumar, International Students’ Commissioner, Canadian Federation of Students – National; Syed Hussan, Executive Director, Migrant Workers Alliance for Change; and migrant student workers who are in crisis.
- 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.
- The Express Entry (Federal High Skilled) path was cut down to 55,900 for 2022, down 50% from the previously announced 110,500 spots.
- To qualify for permanent residence through this program, migrant student workers must complete at least 1 year of high-waged work.
- This work must be completed before their non-renewable permits expire. Permits vary in length from 8 months to 3 years.
- In 2021, in light of COVID-19, the federal government made these post-graduate work permits renewable, a move that stopped the deportation of 52,000 people but the temporary program has expired. However, with the economy just re-opening, many thousands of others have not been able to complete their requirements.
- International student tuition increased 7.25% in 2020, while domestic student tuition increased by 1.65%.
- 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.
- 60% of study permit holders worked and paid taxes according to StatsCan.