International students in the UK are facing serious financial hardship with some using food banks after finding themselves jobless during the pandemic.
Charities have revealed students from relatively poor backgrounds in countries such as India and China, who rely on part-time jobs in the UK to cover basic expenses, are among the worst affected.
Hamza Khatri, an international student at Kingston University said: “It’s been a very hard time for international students, I’m not sure how long we can last with very little financial support and no job opportunities to support our expenses.”
Universities, both in the first and current lockdown, said that they had made sure that hardship funds are available to students who are struggling to cope, however not all students are eligible for extra funds.
The decline in part-time jobs and the lack of opportunities in the hospitality sector, which many students relied on, have left many with no option but to use food banks and local charities.
A student who wishes to remain anonymous said: “I have had to claim a foodbank voucher from the jobcentre to receive emergency food and that’s what I’ve been relying on for the past 5 weeks as I have lost my job at the restaurant I used to work in.”
Organisations working with them warn that many students may be suspended from their course as they are no longer able to afford to pay the fees.
Charities across parts of London have been helping students with food packages. An example is the Newham Community Project, a mosque-based charity which feeds more than 1,300 students each week.
Students are asked to register and provide their student identification to have access to the food packages offered at the centre.