Students with the Canadian flag in the background
International students now permitted to work more hours. Image: Cottonbro Studio/Pexels.
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Canada lifts working hour limit for international students

The Government of Canada announced on Oct. 16, that it will allow international students to work beyond the 20-hour-per-week restrictions as of Nov. 15.

The Government has recognized that, with the COVID-19 pandemic, many jobs have been lost and businesses are dealing with staff shortages. The lifting of the working restrictions on international students will allow them to work longer shifts, which many students are looking forward to. They explained the change is temporary, and is supposed to end in 2023.

University of Ottawa (U of O) students are hopeful the extra hours will help them financially. Tamali Nag, a PhD chemistry student from India, explained why she would be taking advantage of the working restrictions being lightened. “Being an international student here in uOttawa, it’s kind of tough, especially on funds.”

With the University’s tuition increase earlier this year, international students are looking at a per-term tuition fee that, for most programs and faculties, more than quadruples those of Ontario residents. In the faculty of arts, a Canadian student from Ontario is estimated to have a per-term tuition fee of $3,044.08, while an international student would pay $19,346.02.

Nag further explained how the Government’s lightened working restrictions are beneficial to her.

“I believe it’s going to help me more in the paying of my tuition and loans,” she said. When asked if she felt that lifting the restrictions was going to help other international students, she said, “It will help them in the long run and keep them saving up for extra higher education, like pursuing grad studies”.

The Fulcrum also met with Yousra Bassoul, a first-year international student from Morocco studying biomedical mechanical engineering. “When I see my Canadian friends, I see that they can work more than 20 hours, they have more money for themselves and can do many things that I can’t do.”

With the restriction being lifted, there has also been some fear amongst international students about not having enough time to dedicate to their studies.

“From my own point of view, you have enough time for anything you want, you just have to make time for this,” said Bassoul.

The increase in available work hours for international students allows them to pay for tuition fees, groceries, and everyday life items. While some students have expressed they may get behind in their studies, many international students are happy about the increased working hours.