International student work restrictions eased

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A simple official document, yet it represents the hopes and ambitions of thousands of international students every year. Hammad Ali, manipulated by Lee Lim

International students no longer limited to 20 hours of off-campus work

International students are a pillar of the Canadian economy. There are more than 500,000 international students in the country, according to the Government of Canada. The journey to a foreign country on the other side of the globe is not an easy one. It involves being away from your friends, your family, and everything you know. It involves many hard days trying to adjust to the culture of Canada.

Furthermore, it also involves navigating school, life, relationships, and most importantly, the depressing weather during the winter months. The reality is that international students are driven, hard-working people who want to better themselves in the pursuit of knowledge. Whether you are an international student, and immigrant, or you were born in this country, there is one thing for sure: university is a way for many of us to level up in life, to get better jobs, and to thus better our circumstances. The pursuit of knowledge is certainly not cheap for locals; for international students, it is ridiculously expensive.

Jobs are important as they ensure that international students are able to make some extra money and maintain the many fees they have to pay. Earlier this month, Sean Fraser, the minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship, stated that the 20-hour-per-week cap that is meant to regulate and monitor international students’ work off campus will be lifted between November 15, 2022, and December 31, 2023. This is a winning moment for international students as it offers new opportunities for them. It means they will be able to apply for internships, other jobs, apprenticeships, and more. It means that they will be able to acquire more skills and experiences as they will now be able to apply for more jobs off-campus without the regulation in place.

I believe that this decision is a response to inflation and the rising costs of living. College education does not cost what it used to even five years ago. According to Statistics Canada, international students for the 2022/2023 term will be paying $36,123 on average. This is around an 8 per cent increase from the previous years.  In 2022/2023, international undergraduate students will be paying 429 per cent more than Canadian students, according to Statistics Canada, while international graduate students will be paying 184 per cent more. These are insane figures. They represent the harsh realities of studying abroad.

Furthermore, a work-school-life balance is extremely important to the well-being of students. I wish I could say that nobody should work during school because the reality is that living expenses add up on top of tuition. Students are forced to figure out ways to get by with little to no support. Many of my colleagues are relying on grants and student loans to get by as they are unable to find the time to work due to their busy schedule and rigorous classes.

Students have to find time during the busy days to do their homework, study, catch up on readings, go to class, try to get some sleep, remember to eat, and submit assignments, among other things. When exactly are they supposed to find the time to work when most of their days involve camping up in the library or pulling all-nighters?

On the other side of the spectrum, the new ruling is important because it gives international students the ability to take advantage of work opportunities available off campus. It is a great way for them to integrate themselves into Canadian work culture and economy. 

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