International students studying in the ACT are finding it difficult to get basic amenities such as decent housing and a well-paying job, according to student groups.
Up to one in five students at Canberra universities is an international student, adding up to more than 7500 territory-wide, but students from the Australian National University and the University of Canberra say they are being left behind.
UC Student Association overseas student officer Nawaf Ibrahim said the ACT government and the people of Canberra were very welcoming to international students, but serious problems needed to be resolved.
"Accommodation is one of the biggest hurdles for international students to settle in the ACT," he said.
"The cost of accommodation on campus, as well as off campus, is well beyond the budgets of some students ... there are reports of homelessness and students living on public properties due to such issues."
Mr Ibrahim said another major hurdle for ACT international students was finding part-time employment while they were studying.
"WIth the increased cost of living, most students are forced to find work," he said.
"Finding a job itself is a hurdle and if you are lucky enough to find one, some employers abuse the desperation by not making contracts, not providing work insurance, paying below the minimum wage and paying cash."
Mr Ibrahim said access to mental health services and developing connections between domestic students and their international colleagues were also important.
A spokeswoman for the Australian National University Student Association said employment opportunities for international students were scarce in the ACT, while the cost of living remained high.
But she said international students agreed Canberra was a beautiful city, a quiet place to work and full of friendly people.
Chief Minister Andrew Barr said Canberra universities had made significant investments in student accommodation and the ACT now had more student accommodation per student that other Australian cities.
"Jones Lang LaSalle's annual Australian student accommodation market update found Canberra has one purpose-built student bed for every five students, whereas the other major Australian student markets had less than one room for every 10 students."
Mr Barr said all Canberra universities had career services to help students find work, while the ACT government funded internships for undergraduates in science, technology, engineering and maths.