International students call for COVID-19 immigration changes in Toronto

TORONTO — A rally led by current and former international students calling for changes to immigration rules during COVID-19 will be held in Toronto Saturday.

Demonstrators plan to gather at Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland’s office in the first of two events scheduled this weekend, and a second event in Mississauga is planned for Sunday.

Sarom Rho, an organizer with Migrant Students United, says the pandemic has compounded the difficulties international graduates face when entering the job market in Canada.

Tuition fees for international students remain high compared with domestic rates and graduates experiencing unemployment face deportation if they do not complete continuous work for 12 to 24 months.

The group is calling on the provincial and federal governments to make post-graduate work permits renewable so graduates struggling in the COVID-19 job market will not face deportation.

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Students are also asking for lower tuition and easier access to permanent residency, by counting part-time work, for example, while in school and in any occupation towards permanent residency.

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