Canindia News

Exploitation of international students and workers is a scandal

Pradip Rodrigues

So this week a Calgary-based media outlet Sikh Virsa International and the Progressive Cultural Association Calgary, stepped up calls for a cap on college fees and better clarity on programs for international students.

Given the awful level of corruption the federal government’s employer sponsorship program has spawned, these organizations believe it is time to scrap these programs and perhaps replace them with something better.

All across Canada, small businesses are being enticed by the prospect of not only getting cheap labour but also cash in exchange for providing paperwork required by international students and foreign workers to procure immigration.

Currently there are well over 800,000 international students “studying” across Canada and are working toward getting work permits or PR status. For this they are forced to pay tens of thousands of dollars to small private colleges in the hope of completing a two-year program. Many small colleges that would otherwise have been making plans to close down given declining enrollment now have been given a lifeline in the form of international students. Well-paid liberal and left-leaning professors aren’t about to rail against anything that could jeopardize their employment.

To find jobs, these desperate students who may be studying in some economically depressed part of the country with few job prospects are forced to seek out immigration consultants to help with their paperwork. All this is arranged for a small fee of up to $50,000 for the promise of work permits and PR sponsorship letters, with students and workers at their mercy for years, often being paid less than minimum wage, working long hours and keeping quiet about their circumstances to avoid any problems.

There is a feeling that the way these programs are structured forces students to seek out immigration at any cost. Small gas stations across the land, fast food outlets, factories and warehouses are teeming with so-called students toiling away for very little money. This is exploitation plan and simple.

The reason why few exploited international students and workers would dare complain about crooked consultants and business owners who cheat and exploit them is that they are afraid it would ruin their chances of immigration. They are resigned to the fact that this is the price they have to pay if they want to live in Canada.

Interestingly, no South Asian politician seems interested in investigating the issue because it involves the community. Now if a company like Loblaws or some other well-known organization with deep pockets was guilty of exploiting new immigrants and students, you could be quite sure we would have politicians of all stripes and colors professing outrage for exploitation.

It is easier and more convenient for mainstream and ethnic politicians to call out hate crimes, racism and any assault on the principles of multiculturalism and diversity, however when it is often a brown on brown crime, everyone loves to look away.

Even after these two organizations in Calgary have highlighted the level of abuse in a national news outlet, it is unlikely there will be a follow up investigation either from the government or media outlets. It is an inconvenient truth no one wants to talk about. -CINEWS


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1 comment

Fran December 30, 2019 at 5:52 pm

I always enjoy reading your article Pradip and you are not afraid to tell the truth. CanIndia need more reporters like you. Bravo!!!


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