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To the editor,

Recently, the government of Canada announced that international students would be able to work off campus, an initiative that was well accepted by post secondary education institutions and students across the country. This development will help many Canadian institutions in their recruitment drives by attracting and retaining international students, positively reflecting the diverse and multicultural society in which we live.

The one issue with regards to this program is the $150 processing fee that international students must pay to receive a work permit. We often speak of financial accessibility, but charging a $150 fee does not speak well of such financial accessibility. Getting a permit does not mean one will get a job right away, and the benefits of working off-campus for these students are not just monetary—being out in the community enriches the international student experience and allows them to become more comfortable in their new surroundings.

There is a notion that all international students are wealthy, but this is far from the truth. Many international students come from low-income backgrounds, are on student loans and even rely on communal efforts to survive. For these students, the elimination of the $150 fee would go a long way.

By Emeka Chinabu

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