Predatory Nature of Recruitment of International Students and the "International Mobility Program"

The number of international students in Canada has greatly expanded as the desperation to use them for private profit increases.

As of December 31, 2018 there were 572,415 international study permit holders, up from 412,101 two years earlier in 2016. India is now the largest source at 172,625, a dramatic increase from 76,289 in 2016. China comes next at 142,985, up from 131,740 two years earlier, followed by south Korea at 24,195, France at 22,745 and Vietnam at 20,330. In addition, in 2016, there were 20,679 from the United States and 12,649 from Nigeria.

Of these 355,976 are ages 15-29; 35,303 are ages 30-40 and 17,707 are under 15 years old.[1]

Approved institutions are now listed by name on the Citizenship, Immigration and Refugees Canada website. This listing follows a number of scandals where schools and "immigration consultants" defrauded students by claiming that their institutions qualified when they did not. Generally the institutions that qualify include degree granting universities and colleges, technical colleges which offer degrees, diplomas and certifications, as well as flight schools, bible schools and other religious institutions. Some of the universities listed are not known or do not have recognized names. In some cases the institutions are approved only for specific courses -- for example, they offer a flight school program that may qualify but other programs do not.[2]

There is an "International Mobility Program" which features open work permits rather than employer-specific work permits. This includes the working holiday portion of International Experience Canada, the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program, spouses/common-law partners of highly-skilled foreign workers and international students, and certain foreign nationals who are already in Canada waiting for the finalization of their applications for permanent residence.

Recruitment policies of public institutions and their interaction with human traffickers, and the growth of private colleges and even universities that recruit international students at exorbitant fees while working with immigration consultants are not readily made known to the public. It is known, however, that the level of abuse practiced is predatory and unconscionable. "Immigration consultants" promote becoming a student and then receiving a post-graduation work permit as a way to achieve landed status for foreign youth and workers within the country who have become undocumented or those whose work permits are ending. This method is also promoted for educated people coming to Canada for the first time and wishing to emigrate.

A study permit allows the holder to work part-time while studying and full-time when school is not in session. The number of international students who work while studying is not published with the other stats, and may not even be collected, as a study permit allows the student to work, and they do not need a work permit until after graduation.

A post-graduation permit is only available after graduation from an approved institution. Many of the people find themselves in institutions which do not in fact qualify and they are therefore not eligible. Post-graduation employment is the largest single category in the International Mobility Programs with 101,386 permit holders on December 31, 2016.

Post-graduation work permits are good for eight months to three years, with longer times for post university degrees at three years, and shorter programs given less time. People working under a post-graduation permit can be "invited" to apply for landed status or simply have to leave. They have no rights of any kind.


1. Data tables on study permit holders are found here.

2. The list of approved institutions by province can be found here.

This article was published in

Volume 49 Number 16 - May 4, 2019

Article Link:
Predatory Nature of Recruitment of International Students and the "International Mobility Program" - Peggy Morton


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