Working hours cap for international students in Canada, Australia, other countries

Many students, who are predominantly Indian, believe that Canada should permanently remove 20-hour-per-week work rule.

In almost all countries, including Canada and Australia, there is a cap on working hours for international students. However, students in Canada are demanding a permanent lift of this restriction.

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Many of these students, who are predominantly Indian, believe that the country should permanently remove the 20-hour-per-week work rule.

Why international students in Canada are demanding working hours cap removal?

As the Canada government is going to bring back the 20-hour-per-week work rule from January 1, 2024, students are demanding the permanent removal of the restriction citing loans, tuition fees, grocery budget and high rents.

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The Canadian government had previously announced a temporary lifting of the cap from November 15, 2022, to December 31, 2023, acknowledging the challenges faced by employers in finding and retaining workers for economic recovery post-COVID.

Now, as the cap on working hours is set to return, international students are expressing worry. They argue that having the flexibility to work more hours provides them with stability amid the rising costs in the country.

Most post-secondary international students are permitted to work on and/or off-campus, with their authorization to work printed directly on their study permit. They strive not only to support themselves financially during their studies but also to manage tuition fees.

As the working hours cap for international students is poised to return, anxiety prevails among them.

Working hours cap for international students in Australia, UK

Working hours caps for international students also exist in Australia, the UK, New Zealand, and European, and Middle Eastern countries.

In Australia, international students are allowed to work 48 hours a fortnight as the country reinstated this limit on July 1, 2023. Earlier, unrestricted hours were allowed due to COVID.

The UK imposes a cap of 20 hours per week during university term time, increasing to 40 hours per week during vacation periods.

Following are working hours cap for international students in various countries:

CountryWorking hours cap for international students
United States20 hours per week
United Kingdom20 hours per week
CanadaCurrently unlimited. 20 hours per week from January 1, 2024
New Zealand20 hours per week
Australia48 hours a fortnight
Germany20 hours per week
Finland30 hours per week
UAE15 hours per week
Ireland20 hours per week

Similar working hours caps for international students exist in Germany, New Zealand, Finland, and other European and Middle Eastern countries. The primary justification behind these restrictions is to ensure that international students do not become overly occupied with jobs and lose focus on their studies.

With the growing demand to remove the working hours cap on international students in Canada, it remains to be seen how the government will find a solution to maintain a balance between the quality of education and the livelihood of students.

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