Update on Int'l students working off-campus

Friday, December 2, 2005


Written by Rachna Mutreja

There has been some delays on the commitment to allow international students to work off-campus. The problem lies at the federal level, not the provincial. However, the more we can pressure them the better. Below is a template of a letter that Brenda Whiteside has created for international students to send to the Ministers:

“I have recently learned that the Commons Immigration Committee voted against the proposal put forward by the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) to expend resources necessary to implement improvements to the Federal-Ontario Immigration Agreement including $10 million for measures to move forward to make promised changes to the government’s program for off campus work permits for international students. I am extremely disappointed that a program that has been promised has been delayed in this manner.

As an international student, I can attest that these improvements are needed urgently to provide support for international students attending universities and colleges. The ability for international students to work while undertaking their studies will attract more international students to Canadian institutions and provide opportunities for these students to experience the Canadian labour market and gain a wider understanding of Canadian society. The presence of international students in Canadian postsecondary institutions also enriches the learning experience for domestic students who have the opportunity to be exposed to individuals with a broader range of experiences and perspectives.

The administration at the University of Guelph are ready to implement this program, and the Ontario government has worked with dispatch to achieve the necessary agreement to allow the off-campus work permit program to be accessed by international students studying at Ontario institutions. International students studying in Ontario await the promised changes eagerly and must not be disappointed if the goals of the CIC initiative are to be served.

I call upon each of you to provide the leadership necessary to remove the obstacles to progress on this matter and to do so prior to a federal election. There is absolutely no value in failing to deliver on the commitments made to provide off-campus work experience for international students studying in Ontario. Failure to act swiftly will undermine this initiative, damaging the nation’s reputation with international students studying in Ontario and seriously compromising the ability to continue to recruit them to study in Canada.”

International students should understand how this reflects their opportunities in Canada. To help speed up the process, students are being urged to send out letters to the government to show that this is a significant issue and that agreement is needed. However, now that the national government is not technically in existence, what can international students do about this issue but sit and wait for few more weeks? Months? To keep hoping that this issue will be resolved and will come to some agreement that will benefit students and the country.

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  1. Posted by: Tom K. on Dec 2, 2005 @ 1:18pm

    From my understanding international students can only work off-campus if they find a job in their field of study. This would seem to pose an enormous problem. How many jobs, for example, are there in Guelph for students studying in microbiology or history or any academic field. I would assume that this regulation would greatly restrict the number of jobs available to international students, thereby eliminating almost all opportunities. I am not an international student and so I don't have much experiene with the issue, but does my reasoning sound correct? If it is, would the changes be almost worthless?

  2. Posted by: Tom K. on Dec 2, 2005 @ 1:20pm

    sorry for the double post. But what is the CSA's position on this? I would assume that the Academic Commissioner (I assume this would be their responsibility) should share the concerns outlined above.

  3. Posted by: jack on Dec 4, 2005 @ 10:56am

    she's probably too busy plotting the next agm

  4. Posted by: Abbas on Dec 5, 2005 @ 11:02am

    Rachna's article is correct. It is referring to the fact that international students are not allowed to work off campus while doing their undergraduate/graduate degrees. A promise was made that we would soon be allowed to do so but this has not been forthcoming. Joy, if you read the press release you posted the final line says “Implementation of this program will begin once federal government funding is approved.” The federal government has recently voted against funding the program therefore students can not work off campus.

  5. Posted by: Kim Neale on Dec 5, 2005 @ 11:40am

    Tom and Jack

    Although this issue has a lot to do with academics, advocacy in this context is external to the University

    I have had a number of meetings with the ISO this year and last year, however I can not take this issue any further as it does not fall in my portfolio. The key person to talk to is Scott Gilbert your External Commissioner whose job is to advocate on behalf for U of G students externally to the University.

    On this issue, and the issue of job opportunities for international students ON campus I have been working with our work study program on campus to ensure that there is a fair amount of job opportunities for international students. The next step in this particular advocacy process would be to lobby the government to ensure more support for international students on our campus, which would again fall out of my portfolio and into Scott’s.

    The CSA has discussed this issue briefly and will be working on campaigns in the winter semester. If you would like to get involved in these campaigns please email Scott @ [email protected] If you would like information in jobs available for international students ON campus then it would be appropriate to contact me.

  6. Posted by: Julie on Dec 7, 2005 @ 4:34pm

    I've heard that there are very few jobs reserved for international students in work study. Something like...11?

    That certainly doesn't cover all of the international students at Guelph. What else are they supposed to do?

    Kim, what has happened during your advocacy on this issue? Is the university offering more spots for international students on campus?

    What kind of lobbying effort have you begun?

  7. Posted by: john h on Dec 12, 2005 @ 5:41pm

    The work study program is a government-created plan. The aim is to provide needy students with a job on campus and there are various conditions put in place, by government, to determine who qualifies, how much can be earned, etc. If someone does choose to participate in a work study job they can still attempt to get a job on campus, however the money to pay them will come out of the Department budget. The University is obliged to abide by whatever conditions the government sets on the program.

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