In a recent survey conducted by the National Union of Students, over 70% of students said that the 20-hour working cap was a key barrier in accessing equal opportunities. According to the Natwest Student Living Index 2022, average monthly living cost for students in the UK is £950. Many international students therefore often cannot meet the costs of surviving when they cannot legally work more than 20 hours a week. This restriction also has the effect of limiting the kinds of work many international students are able to get to often exploitative, zero-hour, minimum-wage roles.
Importantly, these restrictions do not apply to home students. This has the effect of creating a two-tier labour market where some student workers can be more easily exploited by employers, which undermines working conditions for all students. Additionally, in light of the UK's labour shortage, increasing working hours for international students is not only just but economically prudent.
Everyone should have the same rights in the workplace. We call on the Government to lift the working hours restrictions on international students.
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