Restrictions on working hours for international students to return
Nov 26, 2023
International students at RRC Polytech have mixed feelings about work restrictions
By: Danna Bianca Carreon
International students will face limits to their working hours outside of school as of Dec. 31 when the Government of Canada ends a pilot project.
The project was created to address the national labour shortage. It allowed international students who hold a study permit or applied for renewal on or before Oct. 7, 2022 to work more than 20 hours per week.
Red River College Polytechnic international students have mixed reactions on whether the government should extend the policy.
Maria Hernandez, a Social Innovation and Community Development student from Chile, works in the college’s sustainability office.
Hernandez said the end of the project will not only affect international students but their families as well.
“Some international students from Latin America come with their children and husbands,” Hernandez said. “If they cannot work enough hours for their expenses, it will affect their families.”
Hernandez said she, like many international students, grapples with budget constraints.
“In my case, my program is two years,” Hernandez said. “I have some savings, but it is not enough to live or survive for the next few years.”
Some students have a different opinion.
Carla Meneses, a student from the Philippines studying Business Administration, believes the policy should not be made permanent.
“We came here not to work but to study,” Meneses said, adding that international students should focus on school because that is their primary goal for coming to Canada.
Shakhawatur Dewan, a Business Administration student from Bangladesh, agrees with Meneses and believes it is up to the government to decide.
For him, students should not work longer hours.
“We will have less time for studies,” Dewan said. “This is the most crucial point.”
International students who exceed the hours they are permitted to work could lose their student status and may have to leave the country.
Prachi Ravi Chawla, president of the RRC Polytech Students’ Association, is an international student studying Business Information Technology.
Chawla arrived from India in August last year. Like many international students, she pays for rent, groceries, medical, and transportation expenses. She said the policy to work more hours helped her.
“I am alone here. I didn’t have any support when I migrated from India,” Chawla said. “I live from check to check, so you can imagine what the situation would be for people who are just working 20 hours.”
Chawla travelled to Ottawa this month. She said she planned to meet with members of parliament to discuss policies affecting students, including the extended working hours for international students pilot project.
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