Release: Migrant students respond to Minister Miller’s Oct 27 announcement re fraud

Migrant Workers Alliance for Change

Media Contact: Sarom Rho, 416-887-8315

Migrant students respond to Minister Miller’s announcement

“The Minister accepted today that the international students who took collective action were right, and that their deportation would have been a fundamental injustice by Immigration Canada, but no steps were announced to ensure that other migrants do not continue to be unfairly treated and excluded. We welcome the first step measures announced, but much more needs to be done including support for those defrauded students who had already become undocumented and did not have their cases reviewed. We welcome a system of authentication of acceptance letters, and look forward to details about the recognized institutions framework and protections, particularly for international students at private colleges. Fundamentally, migrant student workers should not be caught in a carrot and stick system where they are denied the ability to protect themselves. We reiterate our call for immediate regularization of all undocumented people and permanent resident status for all.” – Sarom Rho, Organizer, Migrant Workers Alliance for Change.

The Minister announced that 63 students facing deportation were in fact “genuine”

A taskforce was struck to assess these cases only after an 18 day sit-in by international students and supporters outside Immigration Enforcement headquarters in Toronto in May-June 2023. The failures of the processes that led to this exploitation and injustice need to be identified and corrected. The Minister stated that migrant students’ temporary immigration status makes them “hesitant” to come forward. Some of the students caught in the education recruiters scheme became undocumented and were not able to have their cases reviewed by the taskforce, and are waiting for PM Trudeau’s promised regularization program.

The Minister announced an authentication system for international student acceptance letters

This is a simple and much needed administrative measure, but questions remain about protection of students who will pay large amounts of money to education recruiters who have partnerships with colleges and universities, only to find their letters are not genuine when their study permits are rejected and have little to no recourse.

The Minister floated a future “recognized institutions” framework but did not provide specific indicators

It remains to be seen whether the indicators are actually the ones that migrant students themselves have identified; and what supports will be provided particularly to migrant students at private colleges, which will likely not be recognized. There has been an explosion of private colleges as well as partnerships between public and private colleges (PPP). This includes a deal between Sheridan College, where today’s announcement was made, and the private college Canadian College of Technology and Trades (CCTT), which is currently accepting applications. 

The Minister floated future changes to post-graduate work permits including potential increase in length of permits but did not provide specifics or timelines

Renewable and longer postgraduate work permits (PGWP) is a long-standing demand by graduated international students, including those who are employed in essential industries but are unable to have it counted towards their permanent residency applications. The fact that there have been three renewal measures in the last 2 years shows the need to make the PGWP permanently renewable, and for all work to count toward permanent residency.