An international student from India who is studying and living in Canada may soon be deported for working too many hours. On December 13, 2017, Ontario Provincial Police arrested Jobandeep Sandhu, an international student from Punjab, India, for "working too hard," according to Sandhu's lawyers.
The 22-year-old, who worked as a truck driver while attending university in Canada, could potentially be deported as a result of exceeding the maximum number of hours he is allowed to work while living in Canada.
Sandhu recalls being "totally broken" when he was arrested. Back in 2017, he was driving a commercial vehicle from Montreal to Toronto when he was pulled over by an OPP officer at the side of Highway 401 during a "routine traffic stop."
With little explanation, according to Sandhu, he was then arrested, handcuffed, and forced into the back of the OPP squad car. At the time of his arrest, Sandhu had no criminal history, based on the findings of a police background check.
Sandhu later discovered that the "crime" he had committed entailed exceeding the maximum number of hours an international student in Canada is permitted to work each work. According to Sandhu, working full-time was the only option he had in order to afford his school's tuition of $27,000.
Sandhu told Global News, "I never lied. I didn't kill anybody. I didn't rob. My only crime is that I was working."
Current regulations limit the number of hours that international students can work in Canada to 20 hours per week "off campus" without a separate work visa. Foreign students are only permitted to work full-time during scheduled school breaks, such as during the summer.
A spokesperson for the government explained in a written statement to Global News that Sandhu’s study permit authorized him to work 20 hours per week while going to school.
The written statement also cited a report from the Canada Border Services Agency created on the day of Sandhu’s arrest, claiming that he was “inadmissible” to Canada because he allegedly breached the terms of his study permit.
According to the Canadian government, studying must be the primary activity of study permit holders within the country.
“Limiting off-campus work to 20 hours per week while class is in session reflects that (policy) while continuing to offer the opportunity to gain valuable workplace experience in Canada and earn some money,” explained Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada spokesperson Béatrice Fénelon.
When Sandhu was arrested, he was just 10 days away from completing a diploma at Canadore College in Mississauga, Ontario to fulfil his dream of becoming a mechanical engineering technician.