Ontario, Canada’s international students deserve better

International student

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Government and institutional fraud in plain sight for all to see

The Ontario government’s program for international students to supposedly obtain permanent residency closed nearly as quick as it opened.

On March 3, 2020, the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program began accepting registrations for the International Students with a Job Offer stream for Provincial Nomination. The stream was opened without any prior announcement of its impending opening.

Within minutes, eager international graduates flooded OINP’s online registration system to secure a spot to submit an application. OINP’s system was quickly overwhelmed by the flood of online user traffic and OINP was forced to temporarily pause the intake of registrations.

After stabilizing the system, OINP re-opened the registration process. However, this time, OINP also announced that another stream – the Foreign Worker stream for foreign skilled professionals – would begin accepting registrations concurrently.

A short time later, OINP posted another announcement that both streams were closed for new registrations.

What happened?

It was initially unclear what had happened. Did OINP reach its registration quota? Was OINP’s system overwhelmed again and forced to close? Curious candidates would have to wait until the next day to find out.

On March 4, 2020, OINP announced that over 1,300 registrations were received for both streams. These registrations occurred within the space of a few hours.

The registration process was far from smooth. If you tried to register, you would have experienced loading delays, timeouts and errors. Heavy website traffic and demand that exceed OINP’s expectations and server capacity resulted in the initial pause. Once the registration system re-opened, it took very little time for OINP to receive enough registrations for it to meet its quota.

A party like no other

It is as if OINP opened its doors to a party without telling anyone about it in advance. No one was informed of the capacity of the venue, and OINP had no idea how many people might show up.
People from all over rushed the doors and tried to squeeze in. Seeing the chaos at the doors, OINP sent a bouncer to hold back the initial crowd, before finally re-opening the doors and letting only a small group in of the thousands now gathered and waiting patiently outside.

Even the bouncer was not aware how many more people to let in before the club manager came down, whispered in his ear and the doors closed. People standing outside continued to wait until the next day before a notice was posted on the door that the party was over.
By this point, tens of thousands who gathered and were waiting patiently left in disappointment.

OINP

If OINP were only a small nightclub and its doors were only opening to a party, perhaps such reckless, irresponsible and unprofessional behaviour could be expected and forgiver. But OINP is not a nightclub. It is a government department and the face of Ontario to thousands of international observers.

Its patrons are former international students and skilled workers who have committed thousands of dollars to a Canadian college or university education, secured job offers in high skilled occupations and willing to commit to a permanent life in Ontario. Without so much as an acknowledgement of their years of hard work, spent money and the travails they have overcome to reach this point, OINP shuttered its doors to them.

A fraud profiting off the most vulnerable

Canada’s temporary immigration policies concerning international students are not aligned with its permanent, long-term immigration strategies. There are simply tens of thousands more international students accepted to attend Canadian colleges and universities each year than there are spots available for them to become permanent residents.

The fault of this misalignment is that of Canada’s federal immigration department and the provinces that run nomination programs. Together, they have teamed up with Canadian colleges and universities, and the international student placement agents who profit from each referral, to sell the dream that a post-secondary education is a pathway to Canadian citizenship for best and brightest young persons from around the world. International students each spend tens and sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars on a Canadian post-secondary education, creating a multi-billion dollar a year industry.

To enter post-secondary programs

international students must first demonstrate strong English or French language ability, grades and aptitude.
They graduate with sought-after diplomas and degrees, near-native fluency in English or French, and are permitted to enter the labour market for up to 3 years on post-graduation work permits to work for any employer in Canada.
They perform admirably in high skilled and professional in-demand positions, becoming invaluable workers in a high skilled economy.

Growing competition

However, the tens of thousands of international students graduating from Ontario colleges and universities each year must compete for a measly few thousand spots, allocated across a variety of streams for not only international students, but also foreign skilled workers, investors and entrepreneurs and a pool of tens of thousands of the best and brightest persons from around the world competing for a chance to immigrate to Canada.

Few international students are presented with the reality when deciding to choose Canada. Instead, they are sold false hope by governments, colleges and universities, and immigration consultants acting as placement agents, all of whom profit considerably on vulnerable international young persons willing to sacrifice the best years of their lives for a country that they may never be able to permanently call home.

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