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International students welcome unlimited work rules — and hope they stick around

October 17, 2022

By CBC News |

The federal government is temporarily lifting the work limit for international students next month, something that Ottawa students affected by the policy say is long overdue.

On Nov. 15, the federal government will remove the 20-hour-per-week limit on off-campus work while classes are in session.

The pilot project, in effect until the end of 2023, is an effort to address Canada’s labour shortages.

“This is good news for a lot of students,” said Landry Wamba, president of the University of Ottawa’s International Students Association and an international student from Cameroon in his fourth year at the university.

“But it’s not for everyone.”

A welcome change

Gobin Singh, a University of Ottawa graduate who now works as a software developer, wishes the cap had been lifted when he was in school.

Enrolling and attending school in Canada already comes with a steep premium on tuition for international students, Singh said, and the change would have helped lessen the financial burden for him and his family.

Often, he said, the work students find simply covers the cost of their living arrangements.

Omar Flores, a recent Carleton University graduate who now works for Google, said some international students would work under the table to compensate for any financial shortfalls.

“I think this led to a lot of situations where students were being, sort of, abused or running through positions where they didn’t have insurance,” he told CBC Radio’s All In A Day last week.

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