2014-06-21

No Foreign Temporary Workers, But Students And Graduates Can Still Work

Full time foreign students can work in Canada up to 20 hours a week. In addition, they can work in Canada up to 4 years after graduating as long as the job is somehow related to their field. In Moncton, that means hundreds of foreigners working in call centres.

Without those workers, would Sitel et al increase wages?  Bell, for example, has outsourced to call centres in India, the Philippines, Tunisia and Egypt. So there is no guarantee that the jobs filled by foreigners wouldn't simply be shipped off overseas. It is significantly easier to have workers who speak both English and French to service Canadian customers, but when you pay your workers $4 an hour, you can have them sit around and do nothing, waiting for French calls. 

That said, the Moncton call centres exist thanks to provincial subsidies and a willingness by telecoms and banks to undercut union negotiated wages. So it is perplexing to witness a room filled with foreigners. Are they making our lives better, or worse? In theory, Université de Moncton enjoys the fruits of all those foreigners filling their classrooms and contributing tuition. But if they lower salaries of local workers, or displace jobs for local students, they might be lowering the number of Canadians that can attend the university.

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