International students in Canada will soon find the federal government re-establishing a twenty-hour weekly work cap. Let us get into the details of this update.
In October 2022, Sean Fraser, who is the Federal Minister of Housing, Infrastructure, and Communities, cited challenges faced by employers and worker shortages as reasons for lifting the 20-hour work cap for international students. Due to the efforts of international students for years, this cap was temporarily lifted from November 15, 2022, to December 31, 2023.
As the deadline approaches, the Canadian government is trying to bring back a 20-hour working limit for international students. The cap limits international students on study permits but without work permits to 20 hours of off-campus work per week during academic sessions while allowing full-time work during sessions’s breaks.
The student advocates are worried about this reversal as they foresee reduced access to legal job opportunities and possible financial problems, especially as international students face high tuition rates at universities such as the University of Toronto. In addition, there is fear that this cap may lead students into illegal jobs, thereby heightening vulnerability.
Diverse Student Impact
This is not true of all students. Some students can handle even 20 hours of work, including academic and extracurricular activities. Nevertheless, some people will find that this limit is not enough, especially those on tight budgets.
Financial Strain on International Students
In general, international students at the University of Toronto, especially in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, pay nine times more for tuition than domestic Ontario students taking the same courses. Additionally, they do not have access to the majority of financial aid opportunities intended for native students, making their financial problems even worse.
In reaction to these challenges, student organizations like the University of Toronto Students’ Union have been lobbying for the lifting of the work cap. They assert that the cap is a form of discrimination against international students since it does not allow them to access career advancement opportunities.
Canada’s plans to reinstate a 20-hour work cap for international students trigger worries related to poverty, the risk of abuse, and limited employment prospects. Although the effect is not the same for every student, the wider results emphasise the need for a differentiated policy towards international student work.
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