UWindsor international students say they commute to the GTA for part-time jobs

International students in Windsor say they struggle finding part-time employment in the city, so many have to travel outside of Windsor for work.

Some say it's getting increasingly competitive to find jobs in the city

Some student visas allow international students to work up to 44 hours per week. (Tahmina Aziz/CBC)

International student Varun Kumar Yacham never expected how challenging it would be to find a part-time job in Windsor when he first started his masters program at the University of Windsor this January. 

Yacham said he and many other international students have to resort to working outside of Windsor — some frequently travelling as far as Brampton or Toronto for their jobs.

Varun Kumar Yacham says he travels outside of Windsor up to five times a month for work. (Tahmina Aziz/CBC)

"So many people are coming to the University of Windsor, but they don't have enough jobs at the university because the city is very small," said Yacham, who travels outside of Windsor to work as a sales associate at Costco up to five times per month. "Some of my friends travel three to four times in a week."

Yacham added that it's stressful to travel for work, but students need the money to pay for their expenses.

"Some [people] will travel daily except [when they have] classes," he said.

Jobs are limited

Some student visas allow international students to work up to a total of 44 hours per week.

That translates into about 24 hours per week on campus and 20 additional hours per week off-campus. 

Sree Kiran, a masters student at the University of Windsor, said he got lucky when he found a job at Tim Horton's in Leamington, especially since his roommates continue to struggle for employment nearby.

Sree Kiran says he got lucky when he found a job at a Tim Horton's in Leamington, Ont. (Tahmina Aziz/CBC)

"It was a long process ... It was not that easy," said Kiran. "So many jobs go [by] referrals."

Kiran said the university should give more opportunities for part-time work, especially if it continues to accept more students each year. 

Kumar Gaurav Singh works multiple part-time jobs both on- and off-campus. (Tahmina Aziz/CBC)

Kumar Gaurav Singh, a post-graduate student at the University of Windsor, works multiple part-time jobs both on and-off campus. 

He agreed that the number of jobs in the city is limited.

"I can say within the last two ... or three semesters that I have been here, there [has] been a huge intake of international students that are coming in," Singh said.

University not doing enough, say students

Although the university offers help through resume workshops and job fairs, Yacham said the assistance still isn't enough.

"I didn't get any help with the faculty or guidance from them. It's mostly the ... alumni students who really care about the upcoming students," said Yacham.

Thousands of international students visit the International Student Centre at the University of Windsor within one school year, according to Singh. (Tahmina Aziz/CBC)

Yacham is part of a group called Volunteer International Student Assistance at the university and is often approached by new students asking him to help them look for jobs.

"I feel very bad for them. I can't help them because I can't help myself," said Yacham. "I'm not in a situation to help someone. I can guide them, but I can't get them references or I can't find some jobs for them."

Singh said students may struggle initially, but he advised that they should continue to work on their resumes and networks to build more connections.

WorkForce WindsorEssex 'aware' of international students' work concerns

WorkForce WindsorEssex senior director Justin Falconer said his organization is aware of the "thousands of students that are here attending post-secondary institutions on educational visas."

"We have been hearing that they are in need of part-time work in order to make ends meet to pay for not just education, but also housing and living costs associated with … going to school," he said. 

Falconer added that international students aren't eligible to receive support though "government-funded services."

... I'd be looking on job boards ...- Justin Falconer, WorkForce WindsorEssex senior director

"That can be tough because staff who work in those employment agencies want to help those people,'' Falconer said. "But under their agreements with the Ontario government, they're unable to help them."

As for any recommendations for international students looking to find part-time work in the region, Falconer said students should consult job-finding tools like WorkForce WindsorEssex's job board.

"If I was an international student looking for a part-time job to try to make ends meet while attending school here, I'd be looking on these job boards and filtering part-time work and [see] if there's a job that kind of matches my skill sets and interests," he said. 

Falconer recommended students also attend job fairs hosted across Windsor-Essex.


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