Amid reports of hundreds of Indian students being deported from Canada over ‘fake admission offer letters’, the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) highlighted that Canada is effectively looking at addressing concerns related to false documentation among international students in the country.
According to CBSA, the eligibility criteria for the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) will be modified for certain programs at certain designated learning institutions (DLIs) from September 1, 2023, wherein the institutions have to be approved by a provincial or territorial government before receiving international students.
Indian students facing deportation threat were promised elite colleges
Many of the students, who hail from Punjab, were handed out deportation notices after Canadian authorities found their admission letters to be fraudulent when the permanent residency applications of the individuals were being assessed.
Brijesh Mishra, a Jalandhar-based education consultant, who charged each student between Rs 16 to 20 lakhs for all expenses including admission fees, promised them enrollment in elite institutions such as Humber College but urged them to take admissions in lesser-known colleges after claiming that the seats were filled in the Toronto-based institution.
CBSA addressing concerns related to unsubsidized institutions
Though it is yet to be known how other colleges accepted these students despite the alleged false admission letters, CBSA is already addressing a growing pattern of unsubsidized private colleges luring foreign nationals to take enrollment in their colleges in exchange for the post-graduation work permit.
“As an example of what the Agency has done to address the issue of false documentation, announced by , in 2022, we uncovered a scheme whereby unsubsidized private college programs were leading foreign students to a post-graduation work permit (for $25,000) with the sole purpose of acquiring a permanent residence,” CBSA spokesperson Maria Ladoucer told the Free Press Journal.
The investigation led, on June 7, 2022, to the to tighten the criteria for granting post-graduation work permits. The investigation targeted 11 colleges that were implicated in the fraud. The programmes of the federal and provincial governments that issue study permits and then lead to permanent residence have also been re-examined, according to the CBSA official.
Recent incident not one-off for Indian students in Canada
A similar situation, last year, embroiled Indian students in legal troubles when they were affected by the abrupt shutting down of three Canadian colleges — M College in Montreal, CDE College in Sherbrooke, and CCSQ College in Longueuil — which collected millions of dollars in tuition fees and filed for creditor protection in January 2022.
Study permit not equivalent to a visa in Canada
A study permit in Canada is not treated as a student visa, with international students also having to apply for a visitor visa or an electronic travel authorization.
When assessing admissibility, CBSA officers consider certain factors before making a decision, including the purpose of the travel to Canada. that will provide details of the reason for their travel and any other information that may be relevant, for example, an acceptance letter from a designated (DLI), demonstrating that they have sufficient funds to pay their tuition and support themselves and any dependents, etc.
Despite troubles, Canada announces visa extension for international graduates
Though more details are awaited on the future of these students, with more of them expected to face legal woes according to a Canada-based student group, the country has opened more opportunities for those who wish to stay in Canada after their academics.
From April 6, individuals who are holding post-graduate work permits would be able to extend their visas, while the ones who saw their permits expire in 2023 will also be able to apply for an extension.
“PGWP Extension! We are extending the ability to work for PGWP holders, including those whose work permits have recently expired. As of April 6, if your PGWP is valid or has recently expired you can apply to extend your ability to work in Canada by up to 18 months," said a statement by Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship, Canada.