Away from home, students in Canada say they’re safe

Avneet Kaur

Jalandhar, April 23

At a time when the powerful nations like the US and Australia have put a temporary ban on immigration and asked their international students to go home, Canada seems to have managed the crisis by announcing various grants for international students under its Covid-19 Economic Response Plan.

Besides, the Justin Trudeau-led government for the time being has removed the restriction that allows international students to work for a maximum 20 hours a week while classes are in session, provided they are working in an essential service, such as healthcare or supply of food or other critical goods.

Karanveer Singh, who hails from Jalandhar and moved to Toronto on a student visa in 2017 (presently on work permit), was all praise for the Canadian government. He said under various support programmes, the government was offering temporary financial aid of $500, $1,000 and $2,000 a week for up to 16 weeks to international students who stopped working because of Covid-19, if they met certain requirements.

He said under the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, all international students who had not voluntarily quit their job and had an income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application, were eligible for $2,000. “Information regarding all help is being regularly updated on the government’s website. Even if a person fails to clear the eligibility criterion for one or two reasons, the help is not denied,” he said, adding that he had received $500 last week as he was unemployed during that period.

Another native of Ludhiana, Sagar, a student of business studies at Seneca College, Toronto, said the government was responsive. “In fact, the corporate sector is also facilitating employees in these extraordinary times by providing every possible help,” he said, adding that his college had distributed $250 each to at least 9,000 students in order to buy some groceries.

Likewise, Surbhi Sareen, who lives in Brampton, said she was still going to work as her area had a partial lockdown. “I have been provided pick-up and drop facility considering the severity of the situation.”

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