PICK A SIDE: Should changes in immigration policy be made to help international students?


Published September 12, 2020 at 6:04 pm


Immigration is always a complex subject, and it’s become even more so during the COVID-19 pandemic. While many people have been affected, students who came to study in Canada have been hit particularly hard as well.

As a result, some international students are holding a weekend of demonstrations in Mississauga and Toronto this weekend as they call on the government to change immigration rules amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Migrant Students United (MSU) says international students have been left out in the cold as schools reopen and unemployment remains high, leaving thousands to face deportation, high fees, and lack of healthcare.

“International student tuition fees have increased dramatically during COVID-19 even as students and their families have lost work and wages, and classes have shifted online,” the MSU said in a recent statement.

“Many international graduates on time-restricted work permits are required to complete 12-24 months of continuous high waged work to qualify for permanent resident status. However, with unemployment for racialized workers at 17%, most graduates do not have access to these jobs.”

The international students’ requests include lowering points requirements for permanent residency, ensuring work permits for family members, and making post-graduate work permits renewable so former students can complete requirements for permanent residency in the COVID-19 job market.

“Work permits remain non-renewable despite the impact of COVID-19 on the job market, meaning that thousands face deportation in the near future because they cannot fulfill requirements. Delays in permit processing has resulted in thousands without active Social Insurance Numbers,” the MSU added.

The MSU says over 14,000 people have signed petitions calling for immediate changes in immigration policy.

What do you think — should these changes be made to help international students?

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