Article

Drive-By Education: The Role of Vocational Courses in the Migration Projects of Foreign Nurses in Canada

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Abstract

The connection between international education and immigration has drawn the attention of scholars interested in exploring how immigrants strategically use international education as a means to facilitate their migration projects, including their successful integration in their chosen countries of migration. My article contributes to this literature by focusing on the experiences of foreign nurses who enter Canada as international students enrolled in vocational nursing programs, subsequently transition to temporary work permits, and from there to permanent residence. I analyze the classed implications of this mode of entry, contrasting it with another popular form of temporary entrance: temporary foreign work programs. Vocational nursing education, as undertaken by these nurses, is the gateway through which they enter Canada, and the courses offering such education are deemed “worth” costly tuition fees only insofar as they provide a sound stepping stone to the next phase of migration. In this scenario, the connection between international education and immigration has become articulated to such a degree that vocational nursing education, having lost its original significance, is reframed as convenient “drive-by” for immigration, something to be gotten over in a quick and cursory manner, albeit offering significant benefits in terms of residence rights not available to temporary workers in other immigration categories. At the same time, the influx of foreign nurses is revitalizing vocational programs and contributing to the development of the region.

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... Vocational education prioritizes practical learning to make it easier for graduates to get jobs [11]- [13]. Vocational education is right on target because the competencies offered are following the type of work in the job market [14]. ...
... Finally, although my research discussed here focuses on the particular forms of migration temporality and emotionality engendered by encounters with state bureaucracy in the context of labour migration, this work complements what I have published elsewhere on the experience of racism and racialization of nurses who move to Canada (Nourpanah 2019b). I have also extensively discussed decision-making processes with regards to the nurses' migration project (Nourpanah 2019c). Taken all together, this body of work provides a powerful, comprehensive ethnographic account of the multiple dimensions of the migration and labour experience of foreign nurses in Canada. ...
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Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork done between April 2015 and August 2016 in Halifax, Canada, with nurses employed on temporary work permits in the healthcare sector in the province of Nova Scotia, Canada, this research contributes to contemporary literature on certain forms of migration temporality and emotionality. I employ policy analysis of credential recognition procedures for nurses and ethnographic research methods to demonstrate how a complex array of intersecting and sometimes contradictory policy contexts in labour, migration and healthcare regulate the movement and work of foreign nurses, including their transition into permanent Canadian residents, and ultimately, citizens, and the lived experienced of this regulation as it extends through time and space.
... In some cases, they may be coming in through the international student program only because this is considered to be their best option for gaining access to employment and ultimately immigration status. 29,30 All of these internationally mobile workers engage in complex/extended E-RGM to get to Canada but may, because of their status as students and TFWs, with the latter often tied to a particular employer and thus not likely to engage in extended travel within Canada, not be picked up in Statistics ...
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