Still, many educators remain ambivalent about the practice. Philip G. Altbach, director of the Center for International Higher Education at Boston College, said he had a knee-jerk aversion to commissioned agents. “There are a lot of bottom feeders out there,” he said.
But he has come to realize that overseas agents can help faraway families.
“In a globalized world, where some people need a lot of guidance to get here, there may be a legitimate place for responsible middlemen,” he said, then added, “although I really hate it.”
Guidance is necessary for most long distance migration. How strong numbers of international students arrive annually at Skagit Valley Community College should interest cities such as Pittsburgh, which struggle to attract international and domestic migrants. However, there is still the sticky wicket of enough jobs to employ new immigrants.