OPINION: International students should have right to work however they want

by | Dec 12, 2018 | Opinion

M. Umair Farooq Khan
Sports Editor

It’s fair to say that everyone likes extra income. However, not all of us are entitled to it.

Every student desires to land a job and join in the giving, especially as Christmas approaches, but not everyone can do it.

For domestic students, getting a job is fairly easy, but not for international students. They usually face hardships securing a job because of immigration controls and if they do secure one, they are only allowed to work 20 hours a week.

It’s true that in some countries like Mexico, international students aren’t allowed to work at all. But Canada isn’t like most countries. We are a diverse land that is compassionate and therefore we should show empathy.

Let’s start by placing ourselves in the shoes of Prithvi Raj. He is an international student who came here from India to study engineering and his father had to take out a loan in order to support his education. Raj says he doesn’t feel comfortable asking for any more money from his father and so he lives in a basement to avoid high rents. He usually eats instant noodles to save money.

I know Raj’s struggle is real because I’ve visited him in his congested basement and eaten those noodles with him. Despite his penny-pinching, he still doesn’t save enough to live comfortably.

Because of work restrictions, he’s considering getting a second job as a dishwasher but he’ll be paid “under the table,” bypassing tax payments.

According to the City of Toronto, in 2016, there were more than 75,000 establishments offering in excess of 1.4 million jobs. This was an increase of 78,000 jobs since 2015. If we keep these statistics in mind and add on the same increase for each year, there should’ve been over 1.5 million jobs last year and over 1.6 million jobs this year.

With the high number of jobs, there shouldn’t be an issue if the government allows hard-working international students like Raj to work more than 20 hours a week.

International students in countries such as Australia are allowed to work up to 40 hours a week during the school year and they can work full-time during vacations. In Germany, international students are allowed work 180 days a year.

If other countries can understand the struggles of international students, then what is stopping Canadians from doing the same? We should acknowledge Canadians have enough jobs to share with international students without it causing any harm.

We claim to be a peaceful and progressive nation. However, we charge international students three times the tuition of domestic students and only allow them to work 20 hours a week, forcing them to live in poor conditions. This has to end.

It is about time that the government increases the hours international students are allowed to work in this country.