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International students earn less than half of domestic students after graduation

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Deal Guru
Oct 3, 2006
10389 posts
740 upvotes
Toronto

International students earn less than half of domestic students after graduation

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/nat ... e29463566/
A program that allows international students to work in Canada after graduation is creating a low-wage work force, encouraging low-quality postsecondary programs, and needs to be redesigned, says an internal report from Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

Under the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program international students with degrees from Canadian colleges and universities can work here for up to three years after their programs end. Between 50 per cent and 60 per cent of eligible international students applied for a work permit, the report says, with more than 70,000 people holding permits in 2014.

The program is designed to make Canadian postsecondary institutions an attractive destination and to give international students work experience, making it easier to apply for permanent residence.

But the 35-page report found that the majority of those employed through a work permit are in low-skilled jobs in the service sector, and have median earnings that are less than half of other recent university and college graduates.

“Facilitating this large pool of temporary labour, largely in low-paid positions, may be in conflict with the objectives of the Putting Canadians First strategy,” the report states.

That strategy was initiated by the former Conservative government to prioritize employment for Canadians after abuses of the temporary-foreign-worker program came to light. The Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) report was commissioned as part of a larger review of temporary-foreign-worker policies.

The Globe and Mail obtained the report after a nine-month battle. The government initially refused the request. After an appeal to the Information Commissioner of Canada and discussions between the commissioner, Citizenship and Immigration Canada and the newspaper, the government provided a partly redacted version of the report.

Marked “secret,” the report reviews six years of the work-permit program, from 2008 to 2014. It raises many questions about how Canada attracts international students and how they transition to citizenship.

Its findings are likely to complicate the recently announced review of how the new Express Entry immigration system is treating international students who want to become permanent residents. Express Entry, introduced in January, 2015, does not award applicants any extra points for studying in Canada, as had been the case under a prior immigration program for international students. As a result, it has been heavily criticized for making it much harder for international students to become permanent residents.

Earlier this month, John McCallum, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, said the government is launching a federal-provincial task force to look at how Express Entry can better serve this group.

“International students have been shortchanged by the Express Entry system,” he said at the time. “They are the cream of the crop in terms of potential future Canadians …”

The PGWP report, however, suggests that most international students’ investment in a Canadian education is not being rewarded by the labour market.

International students with a work permit had median earnings of $19,291 in 2010, compared with about $41,600 for 2013 domestic college graduates and $53,000 for Canadian university grads, according to the review.


There are no explanations for such a poor labour-market outcome in the report, but international students have said it is difficult to find good jobs before they have permanent residency.

Mr. McCallum was not available for comment.

CIC’s provincial-federal task force has been widely applauded by advocates for international students and study-abroad groups.

“The new minister fully gets it,” said Amit Chakma, the president of the University of Western Ontario and chair of a 2012 task force on Canada’s international-student strategy. “In my view, tinkering with [Express Entry] will not help. My view is that a new program should be created targeting international students who study on our campuses,” Dr. Chakma said.

About 47,000 international students graduated from Canadian universities last year, according to recent Statistics Canada numbers. They pay tuition fees three to five times higher than domestic students.

A small group of international students fare better than others. Four per cent of graduates who had a work permit went on to become permanent residents in 2014. The group that chose to stay had earnings that are much closer to those of domestic students.

The report also suggests that the current system is leading to issues of program integrity. Changes to the PGWP program in 2008 removed the requirement that students find jobs in their field of study and increased the possible duration of the work permit.

In response, some postsecondary institutions are now offering “low-quality education programs with minimal entry requirements” to take advantage of rules that match the length of the work permit to the length of the degree, the report says.

Canada is the only country to structure work permits for international students in this way.
Anyone want to come up with reasons why?
21 replies
Deal Guru
User avatar
Dec 7, 2009
13849 posts
1337 upvotes
I am willing to bet that Canadians abroad face similar challenges. I think it has less to do with Canada being racist and more to do with people in general preferring those who are similar to themselves.
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Deal Addict
Dec 21, 2011
3431 posts
646 upvotes
Allenford
Ugh Chakma.

In London a vast amount are not ready/ or interested yet in the types of jobs their domestic peers get that pay more money in order to pay student debt back quickly.

While they have graduated the same academically, either emotionally they are not ready for jobs with more responsibility and take longer to get in that position due to needing the confidence and maturity level to be ready, or some have financial support from families and have no desire to do more then they have to for a while (less/no debt so they dont have to for much longer).


I know many cases of the former and some of the latter through the home stay program, and it's a big factor for them. Confidence and maturity for handling higher paying adult responsibility roles outside of the academic umbrella does not come with the diploma and without massive student debt to crush them into getting there quickly they are in no hurry to progress to the next step in terms of higher earning roles.
Jr. Member
Mar 7, 2010
142 posts
52 upvotes
Most of them are rich, that's why.

They don't care about the money, it's just pocket change to them.

They take any ***** job just so they can apply for PR.
Deal Addict
Feb 18, 2016
1808 posts
527 upvotes
International students are a cash cow for universities. If they could I bet they would take exclusively international students, since they are self-funded, no government subsidy as is the case for domestic students.
Deal Addict
Mar 17, 2016
1545 posts
1444 upvotes
Wow I am surprised the figure is that low. What is the point of coming to Canada as a inter. student if you will be making less money than your tuition costs?

If they can afford to pay tuition, then they are well off in their home country. Something is not adding up

The only reason I can think of is that Canadian education looks good in their country and might lead to a lucrative job there
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Sep 23, 2009
5089 posts
2271 upvotes
Perhaps the education they got isn't worth the paper it's written on?

Also Canada's economy is pretty bad that is if you ask someone not supported by the government. That's not just this year, it's been pretty crappy for about 10 years - maybe longer.

Globalization doesn't benefit workers in Canada. Consumers, yes, but not workers.
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Nov 6, 2010
9523 posts
1501 upvotes
Montreal, QC
Syne wrote: I am willing to bet that Canadians abroad face similar challenges. I think it has less to do with Canada being racist and more to do with people in general preferring those who are similar to themselves.
I'd be interested to see numbers from other countries because I think Syne is onto something.
Deal Addict
Oct 21, 2006
2464 posts
850 upvotes
But the 35-page report found that the majority of those employed through a work permit are in low-skilled jobs in the service sector
So they make less because they're in low skilled service jobs....Canadians in those jobs make less than those not in those jobs as well. The question is why are they in those positions?
“International students have been shortchanged by the Express Entry system,” he said at the time. “They are the cream of the crop in terms of potential future Canadians …”
Having known many international students at my time at university I know that this line is mostly bull*****. Just being here from another country doesn't mean you're the cream of anything. I knew large groups of international engineering students that put in exactly the minimum needed to pass/keep their status, and they cheated outrageously. Many were less than interested in integrating with canadian culture and had trouble speaking English after 2-3 years in Canada, IN A UNIVERSITY. Hard to land a good job when you can barely speak the language or relate to people around you.
They pay tuition fees three to five times higher than domestic students.
Good, because they and their families have not paid into our tax system and are here to take advantage of the good parts of Canada. And the universities enjoy the money as well. It offsets costs for canadians.
A small group of international students fare better than others. Four per cent of graduates who had a work permit went on to become permanent residents in 2014. The group that chose to stay had earnings that are much closer to those of domestic students.
Those who have the technical skills, language skills, people skills, etc find good jobs and stay.
Changes to the PGWP program in 2008 removed the requirement that students find jobs in their field of study and increased the possible duration of the work permit.
So prior to 2008, they had to find jobs in their field or leave. Now they don't need to, so they aren't.
In response, some postsecondary institutions are now offering “low-quality education programs with minimal entry requirements” to take advantage of rules that match the length of the work permit to the length of the degree, the report says.
...and then we're wondering why they aren't finding jobs after graduating from low quality education programs...from a change that was made 8 years ago.
Canada is the only country to structure work permits for international students in this way.
That doesn't mean anything on its own. how is it different than other countries? More/less lenient? I know someone who was a student in the UK and had to leave because her visa wouldn't let her stay after x months from graduation. It doesn't seem much different.
Deal Addict
Oct 16, 2013
2355 posts
718 upvotes
New Brunswick
Depends on what is local Canadians, does that include PR and 1st gen immigrates? If it any comfort I know plenty of white males who are looking for a job in there field. And if all stats you have to look at the break down of numbers.
Member
Jan 30, 2010
232 posts
35 upvotes
Toronto
Syne wrote: I am willing to bet that Canadians abroad face similar challenges. I think it has less to do with Canada being racist and more to do with people in general preferring those who are similar to themselves.
I don't prefer people similar to me...I am not stupid! Whoever is qualified is my preference.
Deal Fanatic
Sep 23, 2007
5061 posts
1159 upvotes
roca1777 wrote: I don't prefer people similar to me...I am not stupid! Whoever is qualified is my preference.
That's you. But look around you. People ALWAYS form ethnic cliques, whether at workplace or in school. In school, it's all too common to see an all Chinese group hang out together. Workplace is the same. If a company has several workers of the same ethnicity, they tend to form a group and socialize.

I'd attribute this situation to the follow:
-Language barrier: Lots of international students are still not fully fluent by time they graduate
-Culture barrier: Self explanatory
-Employer resistance: Either due to the ethnic clique issue I cited, or because the employer would generally prefer someone more stable. Someone who a temp work visa may be less attractive.
-Employers being cheap: If an employer knows you have no better options, the employer may offer lower wages. And again, a lot of international students are Chinese. And no offense but we all know Chinese employers tend to be cheap.
-Lack of networking: If you're new to the country, you probably don't know anyone who can hook you up with a job. And it certainly doesn't help if you only mingle with people of the same ethnicity, which is a very common sight I see with Chinese international students.
-They have money and just don't give a damn. Again, Chinese international students are a prime example. If you can afford to come here to be international student, chances are good the family is loaded.
Newbie
Oct 6, 2013
78 posts
2 upvotes
Toronto
it's all about your network, appearance, and language, plenty of international kids live a good life
Deal Expert
Jun 30, 2006
19112 posts
7188 upvotes
Toronto
This what happens. International student have work experience in their county that is not recognized here. They come here and do Master's or PHd with no relevant Canadian work experience. Once they are done, companies hire them as new grads and pay them like new Undergrads.
Member
User avatar
Jul 12, 2006
413 posts
27 upvotes
The point of paying for immigration (skilled) to Canada is to head to America. Those who get stuck here are destined to be forever frustrated. They can watch others have a good life, and live vicariously. Never will they own a nice house, or have anything that nullifies the things they gave up for the "better life". There is no great equalizer, some have it better some have it worse.

What some international students may not realize is Canadian higher ed is lower quality than say, that in the USA and usually, the UK. You get what you pay for I suppose. Career prospects are limited in Canada even for some Caucasians. Basically, you wouldn't go to Astana to start a deep sea fishing adventure company would you? Why would anyone think of Canada as a place to do well in a career that requires a university education? The only reason is the table scraps from across the border, government largesse and monopolistic titans, such as banks. But immigration brings in lot of revenue and is critical to Canada's economy. Consider a career as the following:

1. Immigration consultant (If you give hope for the future, it's not a lie, because no one has seen the future have they)
2. Settlement worker (Learn to say, "Weltum to Tanada." and "How tute!")
3. PSW (volunteer in a settlement centre. Pro tip: study nursing in the Philippines before coming here on express entry, you might get a shot in the US)
4. Job placement centre (preferably be female, organize pointless "job fairs", offer menial wages to experienced educated people, and never deliver)
5. And so on

The point is if government funds it, there is a reason and it is sustainable. The economy is structured the way it is, it was the same in 1965 and it will be about the same in 2065. Do you think American TV channels ever refer to the American celebrities, entertainers, sportsmen and entrepreneurs who made it big in Canada? Do you know how much an MPP, MP, "city" mayor, Councillor, trash collector, unionised janitor, school teachers earn?

If you don't know who the fool in the room is, guess what, it's you. Dear student, the world considers a Canadian education to be worthwhile. If you're here, make the best of it. Have fun, work hard. If you aren't here yet, try to look at better options. There are loads! For every choice, you lose something and you may or may not gain something. Cash is king, try not to have it leave your pocket and land in the till of smiley-brochure producing colleges. If you don't know what to do in life, there are worse places than this. The problem with the Canadian economy and mindset is it cuts people off at the knees, and by the time people catch their breath, they have missed too many opportunities to ever be whole. Your connections, ambition, accent, appearance, race, luck, etc. matter more than your grades. But you can control your grades and behaviour to a great extent. Some things you can't change, fix what you can. All in all, know the consequences of the trade.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Sep 16, 2012
3083 posts
325 upvotes
Mississauga
The main problem, gaining a degree is one thing however I think most people get sold a bad bag of dreams by some schools through promising them that gaining Canadian education equals work experience which is untrue. It helps that companies can see that you went to school in Canada however without some experience in the country, employers will still shy away from these students.
Sr. Member
Jan 1, 2015
727 posts
628 upvotes
Toronto, ON
Great news. Employers should continue to take care of Canadian citizens first and foremost.
Member
Dec 2, 2014
405 posts
226 upvotes
Toronto, ON
I think i know the reason for this, atleast for Chinese international students. A lot of Chinese students upon graduation will end up working for Chinese companies based here as they will have very difficult time finding "normal" jobs with their level of english. These companies do not pay very well. Often minimum wage.

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