“East Is east and West is west, and never the twain shall meet.”
When Rudyard Kipling wrote this poem, globalization—the time when physical borders would give way to cloud computing and boundaries have become non-existent—was not even a glimmer in the eye. At least on paper.
In the current real world, however, drawbridges are being pulled up, tolerance of immigrants from the other twain is down – way down: building walls are being proposed and age-old alliances damned to political death.
Another twain consists of the Western demand for foreign workers in specific sectors and a deep and wide pool of qualified candidates unable to meet the criteria of employers.
In March 2012, the Canadian Tourism Resource Council (CTRC) issued a report on the Future of Canada’s Tourism Sector.
CTRC noted that in “2010, over 1.6 million full-year jobs were required to meet the demand for tourism goods and services. The projections for future spending suggest that, by 2030, demand for labor in the sector will grow to 2.1 million jobs, an increase of 33 percent.”
While there was a surplus of skilled labor in areas where “natural-resource-based activities were expanding fast, low fertility rates, longer lifespans and the aging of the baby-boom generation limited labor force growth.” In addition, much like in other First World economies, declining birth rates coupled with large numbers of workers joining the retired battalions fueled the need to create policies that would attract younger skilled workers and professionals.
More workers are needed to keep the pension funds and retirement benefit spigots flowing.
After tinkering with its federal and provincial immigration programs, the Canadian government finally introduced Express Entry in January 2015, a new selection system for immigrants who are welcome to make Canada their home.
Last week, Canada’s Immigration Minister said the government “would let 300,000 immigrants into the country in 2017, maintaining this year’s target despite recommendations to increase it to help spur economic growth and help business leaders bring in more talent.”
While Immigration Minister John McCallum refused to accept the 450,000 target of some business leaders, he told reporters that making the 300,000 target permanent lays the foundation for future immigration growth, and that admitting more immigrants would be a good policy for demographic reasons, in effect validating the CTRC report.
“By 2030,” The report continued, shortages in the tourism sector could grow to 228,000 jobs, leaving 10.7 per cent of potential labor demand unfilled. The greatest shortages are expected to materialize in the food and beverage services as well as the recreation and entertainment industry groups.”
Back East – the Philippines in general and the Cordillera Administrative Region in particular – thousands of graduates and graduating students from the Hotel and Restaurant Management programs of the University of Cordilleras (UC) would have to compete for a smattering, finite number of jobs that do not require bachelor degrees.
After having spent anywhere from 300,000 to 450,000 Philippine pesos to get an HRM diploma, students would have to compete with graduates of technical-vocational courses focused on specific hotel, restaurant and tourism jobs, among them food servers, attendants, front desk clerks, cashiers, cooks and maitre’ds.
With 10,000 to 15,000 Philippine pesos as the median starting salary (and in most cases P285-P300 per day wage rate) college graduates or undergraduates would have to work for about four to five years to recoup the investment in their education.
Like kites, these graduates (now new entrants to the employed labor force) would have to extend the period of tetheredness, casting envious stares upon birds that have cut the economic umbilical cords, earning more than full-time employed classmates as international students in Canada’s colleges such as Niagara College.
Located just 15 minutes from the world-famous Niagara Falls, Niagara College’s Tourism, Hospitality, Culinary and Business Management school created and offers hospitality, tourism and restaurant programs that cater to the 15 million visitors the 8thwonder of the world receives every year.
The programs include courses that are as short as a year – certificate programs as well as diploma courses (two years) advanced diploma program (three years) and even a four-year Bachelor degree.
Unique and industry specific programs such as Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management, Greenhouse Technician, Horticultural Technician, Hospitality, Hotel and Restaurant Operations, Tourism Management-Business Development, Winery and Viticulture Technician are among the two-year diploma programs that international students, such as the UC graduates or graduating students could enroll in.
International students are allowed to work 20 hours a week while studying. Effective January 1, 2014, Canada’s Public Service Commission set the rates of pay for students enrolled in post-secondary programs.
Today, OANDA currency converter program shows that the $12.26 per hour wage of an international student in Canada is equivalent to P442.73 pesos or P566, 699.00 annually. Therefore, a UC graduate or undergraduate enrolled in one of Canada’s post-secondary program would be earning more than his or her classmate who (for lack of funds or resources) has to work full time in an entry level job paying about P120,000 a year.
At what cost? There is always a price to pay for such a prize.
A diploma program with Niagara College is $11,800 a year or P426,122. The UC graduate or graduating student surely will be able to recoup this investment in a year’s time. Across the Pacific, his or her classmate would have to work for about four years to pay off a loan or recoup the investment made for a four-year diploma course.
The prize of earning more than his classmate is more than doubled when the former UC student (now enrolled in Canada) gets a job offer from an employer with whom he or she had been working part or full-time. A job offer automatically enables the international student to be invited to apply for permanent residency in Canada through Express Entry.
If the same former UC student has a spouse, the spouse or partner can work full time for the duration of the partner’s studies. Whoever gets the job offer could immediately submit an application for permanent residency. Then the higher yearly salary combined with the benefits of permanent residency (social services such as unemployment insurance, family benefits, education and training assistance, housing benefits among many) constitute the grand prize.
That is when the twain shall meet.