Dozens of international students in a private college in Edmonton, Canada claim they have been misled by dishonest education agents. Now unsure of their chances of remaining in Canada after graduating from their two-year diploma studies. They had registered in the school with the hopes of getting a post-grad work permit after completing their program.
This was what they had been advised by their immigration agents, the students said.
These foreign students will be graduating and their believe is to get that open work permit but that may not happen,” said Marco Luciano, from immigrant advocacy group Migrante Alberta.
A media report says the number of affected foreign students – who were enrolled at Solomon College – could be as high as 80. Many of the misled foreign students are now facing the prospect of being forced to leave Canada.
With these Eighty (80) students, a lot of them have said they won’t go back home … they will stay, they will be here, trying to survive and trying to live, under the radar.”
The post-graduate work permit is a federal government immigration program in Canada, but the provincial government determines which schools and programs are eligible.
Eligible programmes include certificate, diploma, and degree programmes at publicly-funded higher institutions, and ministry-approved degree programmes at private colleges,” Samantha Power, the Advanced Education Minister wrote in an emailed statement.
Power reiterates that there are currently no ministry-approved degree programmes at private institutions eligible.
This has been widely transmitted with private institutions and many student inquirers for some years, and currently no changes to the federal program have been made,” Power wrote.
I gave my agent my full trust’
However, international students say all the above were not communicated to them upfront by their immigration consultants, colleges and even the government website.
One such foreign student was Edeline Agoncillo. Her immigration agent had advised her to register for a hospitality management program at Solomon College in Edmonton.
According to her, the agent made the process “sound very easy” and that the Filipino student would be able to get a post-grad work permit after two years of studies at the college.
Agoncillo got a loan against her property and her parents’ back home so that she could fund her tuition fees and consultant fees, which cost up to thousands of dollars.
This is my childhood dream to set foot in Canada.”
The mentality was, ‘We know the rules’… I gave my agent my full trust.”
It’s now clear she’s not qualified to apply for a post-graduate work permit.
The college’s programme manager, Ben Lau, says “we have students getting the post-graduate work permit before, based on past students’ success records, but we do not have the final say. I always refer them to IRCC and ask them to check whether they’re qualified or not.
We have had students who have successfully got PGWP. That’s why we think that this is possible,” Lau said.
Clear advice from an education institution on every aspect of the programme experience is always very important, but maybe too little too late if international students in Canada have already been misled by dishonest education agents.