International students creating a low-wage labour pool, says report

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Ottawa, April 1 (CINEWS): Just last month, Immigration Minister John McCallum announced that the Liberal government was prepared to pull out all stops in its quest to ease the path to citizenship for international students. “We must do more to attract students to this country as permanent residents,” he added.
But this week, an internal report from Citizenship and Immigration Canada revealed what has been known for a long time- the Post-Grad Work Permit Program allowing international students to work for up to three years after their program ends is creating a low-wage workforce. Up to 60 per cent of all foreign students applied to work and universities have created low-quality post-secondary programs to catering to a growing legion of foreign students who use it to gain citizenship.
Most foreign students are employed in the low-wage service sector where the median earnings were under $20K in 2010, less than half of what Canadian domestic and university grads make on average.
The report reviewed the work-permit program between 2008-14, contradicts Immigration Minister John McCallum’s assertion that “They (international students)are the cream of the crop in terms of potential future Canadians.”
For years now, young Canadian students especially in cities like Toronto, Edmonton and Vancouver face an uphill task finding part-time work in the service sector. Many small businesses are known to prefer hiring foreign students as they are willing to be paid under the table or accept wages even lower than the minimum wage!
It is also clear that many of the international students from India and China in particular aren’t of the high caliber. Some critics point out that they often have poor language skills and that coupled with low-grade university courses condemns them to taking up low-paying jobs. It could also end up driving down wages and put those Canadians who are looking for simple entry-level jobs at a disadvantage. It goes against the Putting Canadians First strategy. All this comes at a time of high unemployment and anemic economic growth forecast.

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