Mumbai: The decision to deport Karamjeet Kaur, an Indian woman who was under the radar of CBSA (Canadian Border Services Agency) over a fake admission letter, was stayed by a federal court in Canada on Friday.
The former student, who came to Canada from Faridkot in Punjab in 2018 for her studies, would now be able to stay in the North American country for the next 4-6 months, during which she will face more hearings on her deportation case.
Who is Karamjeet Kaur? The first victim in deportation case
Karamjeet was the first former student to receive a removal order from CBSA in their investigation against hundreds of Indians who came to Canada between 2017-2020, on alleged fraudulent enrolment offers, something the students denied knowing of.
The 25-year-old, like many of her peers, has claimed that she was cheated by Brijesh Mishra-led, Jalandhar-based Education Migration Services. According to Karamjeet, though Mishra had originally helped her with admission at Seneca College in Toronto, the latter told her that the enrollment has not been confirmed leading her to enrol in NorQuest College Edmonton.
Though Karamjeet gained a work permit after two years of her studies, trouble brewed for her during the permanent residency process when authorities found her offer letter to be fake.
Deportation date deferred after a long battle
Despite CBSA booking her flight from Toronto to Delhi for May 29, Karamjeet appealed against the removal order, asking the agency to defer her deportation until there’s a decision on other pending applications of the cohort.
“The past few weeks I was not able to find anybody who agreed to fight my case because of the short period. But a Toronto-based businessman Harjinder Gill helped with a lawyer who was willing to fight my case at any cost,” said Karamjeet, who suffers from right-side hemiparesis which limits activity on the right side of the body.
Though there’s no confirmation on when further hearings will take place in Karamjeet’s case, she aims to get back to work as soon as possible.
“I had to take a break from work from April 24 to deal with this situation but since there’s some relief now I will resume this week,” added Karamjeet, who is employed as a supervisor in a company in Edmonton.
Why are hundreds of Indian students under CBSA radar?
Mishra, who is already on the run, with his associates being arrested by the Punjab Police, signed fake admission letters of thousands of Indian students, who were charged anywhere between Rs 15-20 lakhs though the charges didn't include fares for air tickets and security deposits.
The victims, most of whom hail from Punjab, eventually took admission to other, lesser-known colleges, and in available 2-year diploma courses after which they attained work permits and eventually went ahead with their PR process.
Opposition NDP defends students amid Canadian min's assurances
With hundreds of ex-students planning protests across Ontario and other areas of Canada daily, Jagmeet Singh-led New Democratic Party has come to their defence.
“Right now, students who came to Canada for their university education are under threat of deportation. I wrote to the minister (Immigration Minister Sean Fraser) on May 25 urgently calling for action to help these students who unknowingly received fraudulent travel documentation from bad actors looking to make money from their deceit,” said NDP critic for Citizenship and Immigration Jenny Kwan, in a public statement.
Meanwhile, Canadian Minister for Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship, Sean Fraser addressed the fake offer letter case publicly for the first time.
In a tweet posted on May 26, Fraser remarked that Canada is actively investigating ‘recent reports of fraudulent acceptance letters.’
“We’re actively investigating recent reports of fraudulent acceptance letters. To be clear: Our focus is on identifying culprits, not penalising victims. Victims of fraud will have an opportunity to demonstrate their situation and present evidence to support their case,” said Fraser.
“We recognize the immense contributions international students bring to our country and remain committed to supporting victims of fraud as we evaluate each case. We’re also working closely with institutions to verify acceptance letters are valid at the time of application,” Fraser added.
According to the data released by Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), Canada welcomed over 2.26 lakh Indian students to the country making them the largest cohort of international pupils.