In a relief for many former Indian students, Immigration Refugees Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is set to halt their deportations for an ‘interim period’ until every case is analysed by a joint taskforce comprising senior officials from IRCC and Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).
“‘First off we are establishing a task force made up of senior officials from IRCC and CBSA. This taskforce will be required to undertake a case-by-case analysis of every individual case which is the subject of a removal order on the basis of fraudulent letters of acceptance,” said Canadian Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Sean Fraser. “Any pending removals will be halted in the interim with temporary permission to stay over the course of the period of this consideration,” added Fraser.
According to Fraser, the taskforce will consider particular factors such as their completion of studies, and level of knowledge of any fraudulent scheme that may have affected their applications. Genuine applicants to the student programme will be given permission to stay in Canada for a few years to complete their studies or work in the country.
Chance for Indian students to prove innocence
The development comes after Fraser assured the former students that they will have an opportunity to prove their innocence and explain how they were allegedly scammed.
“Innocent students who are the victims of fraud would be given a chance to prove that they were taken advantage of,” said Fraser, who added that the Canadian government will provide an appropriate remedy for them.
Previously two of the former Indian students, who were set to be deported from Canada to India, received a stay on their removal orders as many of their peers took to the streets of cities such as Toronto, Brampton, and more to agitate against the deportation hearings.
While Karamjeet Kaur saw her removal order on May 29 get a stay for the next 4-6 months, Lovepreet Singh’s deportation for June 13 was also deferred until further notice on the same.
Reasons behind Indian students facing deportations in Canada
The new announcement will help the remaining former students, who came to Canada between 2017-2020, take a breather as many of them maintain that they did not know about their admission letters being fraudulent.
According to the former students, Brijesh Mishra, a Jalandhar-based consultant, signed fake admission letters for them while charging anywhere between Rs 15-20 lakhs.
Despite the fact that Mishra purportedly assured them they had been accepted to prestigious Canadian universities like Seneca, Humber, etc., when they arrived in the country they learned that their admissions hadn't been validated, forcing them to accept admittance to less prestigious, tier-2 institutions.
After completing their studies, the students obtained their work permits and eventually moved on with the PR procedure; this is when Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) discovered that the students' offer letters were false.
While Mishra is on the run, the Punjab Police have detained two of his colleagues in connection with the case.
“We have been working the past couple of months to establish a stronger system to better detect fraud in admission acceptance letters and will have more to say in a few months,” stated Fraser in the press conference on Wednesday.
Jaishankar backs students, says situation 'unfair'
External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar added his voice to the conversation on Thursday during a news conference, saying that the situation is unjust to the students who studied honestly.
“For some time now, there is this case of students, who the Canadians say, did not study in the college in which they should have and when they applied for a work permit, they got into difficulties. From the very start, we have taken up this case and our point is, the students studied in good faith. If there were people who misled them, the culpable parties should be acted against. It is unfair to punish a student who undertook their education in good faith. I think the Canadians also accept that it would be unfair if a student has done no wrong...We will continue to press,” Jaishankar said in a statement.