International students struggle to make ends meet with 20 hour per week work limit

International students are facing difficulties with affordability in Vancouver under strict working conditions

Domestic and international students walking the hallways of Langara College. Photo by Joe Ayres
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By Steven Chang

International students must not work over 20 hours a week while studying. Many students find it is not enough to support themselves and end-up working under the table.

International students that were interviewed by The Voice who work over their 20 hours limit weren’t willing to speak out due to the risk of getting fired and potentially losing their status in Canada.

It is a requirement for international students to have a minimum of $10,000 in their bank account to receive a monthly’s Guaranteed Investment Certificate .

Many international students working over 20 hour limit 

“International students are only getting about $670 every month from GIC, which is a tight budget to live off. Naturally, there is a tendency to work overtime even though they’re not allowed to,” said Kane Lillywhite, who works at a financial institution at Langara.

International students often encounter difficulties with affordability living in Vancouver. Sayem Behl is a second-year computer science student at Langara, who knows many students from India that are currently working over the limit but won’t reveal their identity, due to concerns that if revealed they would no longer be able to stay in Canada.

Behl said, “I am lucky that I have a good employer at my software company. But if you ask anybody whether they’re working for more than 20 hours, they won’t tell you anything.”

Affordability in Vancouver often an issue for international students

The Vice President at the Langara Student’s Union, Navjot Warring, is an international student and thinks students are working part-time jobs according to their needs.

“I live with my uncle, so rent isn’t an issue. But other students are working so they can afford a car. Some students are working to put less burden on their parents back home,” Warring said.

Student loans are often important to international students at Langara since they pay $590 per credit while domestic students pay between $99.42 and $129.31 per credit according to the Langara website.

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