International students are concerned about hiring equity on campus

Apr 5, 2023 | Campus News, News

By Angelina Kotchatovska and Upkar Singh

Hiring equity at Humber is put into question as international students raised their concerns about not being legally able to take on work-study jobs.

The Work Study program is a way for students at Humber College to get a part-time job on campus. To be eligible, students must be enrolled in a full-time program, demonstrate financial need, and maintain good standing in a ministry-approved post-secondary program.

However, Humber College provides work-study opportunities only for domestic students who are permanent residents, Canadian citizens, or have a status as a Protected Person.

Anthony Nguyen, a co-curricular programs coordinator at Humber College, told Humber News the reason to exclude international students to apply for the program is the funding from the government.

“The work-study program is specifically for domestic students because the funding comes from the government,” he said. “So, Ontario gives each college or university a pool of money to help domestic students.”

Nguyen said some domestic students can’t qualify for the work-study program and receive a denial.

“They need to show financial need and fill out the application to prove it. And some students can receive a denial at this stage,” he said.

Also, Humber College provides career advising services guiding international students to find a job and show career opportunities. However, Nguyen said the hiring process is “very inconsistent.”

“Each office has a different number of staff and it depends on what the role is and the budget that each office gets for the work-study program,” he said.

Amandeep Singh, a first-year student of Multimedia Design at Humber College, said he applied for many jobs, both on and off campus, but hasn’t heard from any employers yet. He said he feels “helpless.”

“I’m worried about paying for my tuition fees in the future,” he said. “I faced a lot of problems and I still face them.”

Singh said skills are more essential rather than residence status in the workplace.

“Skills are crucial and residence status in Canada shouldn’t be based on it,” he said.

Nguyen said non-work-study positions that international students can apply for have a separate budget, however, hiring equity on campus is questionable.

“It’s a big concern that there are specific work-study positions that are only for domestic students and it excludes international students,” he said. “Each office has a different number of staff but hiring is very inconsistent.

“It depends on what the role is and the budget that each office gets for the work-study program,” Nguyen said.

Melany Palacios-Naranjo, a student advocate at IGNITE, told Humber News the student union hires students regardless of their residency status in Canada.

“In IGNITE we do offer jobs to anybody no matter their residency status,” she said, adding the student union also provides programs for students to prepare for specific job positions and get a certificate after finishing the courses.

Another office that provides most jobs for international students on campus is the International Centre but Nguyen said there is still a “gap” between the centre and other services offering jobs for students.

The International Centre refused to comment.

“I think there can be a gap between the International Centre and specific offices. Working on bringing this gap is always important so that the International Centre refers students to different areas,” he said.

Humber College created Career Connect Job Portal for both domestic and international students as an additional source for job hunting. However, Nguyen said the criteria for work-study eligibility is still an “issue.”

“I think work-study is always going to be an issue. We should continue to improve the program and think about hiring equity,” he said.

“Also, there’s a population we should be concerned about because 20 per cent of the campus are international students,” Nguyen said. “So, the same number of work-study positions should be allocated to them.”

Singh said the experience that international students gained from different parts of the world should be considered by employers.

“International students should also get a chance to be employed by the college because we are all from different countries and our experience could be helpful and valuable for employers,” he said.