In a relief for former Indian students in Canada, who are set to face deportation over fake offer letters, a Canadian parliamentary committee has voted unanimously to urge the border services agency to stop the process. According to the committee, the students were duped by unscrupulous education consultants in India to enter Canada with "fraudulent college admission letters."
Conservative MP Brad Redekopp announced the news in a tweet, writing, "After 4 attempts over 2 weeks by Conservatives to bring this issue to Committee & a petition with over 10,000 signatures, the Liberals and NDP finally opened the floor to discuss this issue."
The introduction of the motion has been announced just days before Lovepreet Singh, an Indian national, is set to be deported on June 13.
Singh, who hails from Punjab and is currently in Toronto, is now protesting along with his peers to convince Canadian authorities that they are not at fault and deserve another chance.
Canadian PM says focus on culprits not students
While promising to pursue a solution for the students, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has also assured that his government is focused on “identifying the culprits, not penalising the victims.”
"We are deeply aware of cases of international students facing removal orders over fraudulent college acceptance letters. To be clear, our focus is on identifying the culprits not penalising the victims," Trudeau said during a parliament debate on Wednesday.
“Victims of fraud will have an opportunity to demonstrate their situation and present evidence to support their case,” added Trudeau, while responding to Sikh-origin New Democratic Party (NDP) leader Jagmeet Singh’s concerns regarding the matter.
EAM Jaishankar reacts to issue, says 'unfair to students'
Moreover, External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar said in a press conference, on Thursday, that the Ministry has taken up the matter and it is unfair to the students, who studied in good faith.
“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.
One deportation stayed as more hearings expected
Earlier Karamjeet Kaur, who lives in Edmonton, was given a deportation date of May 29, 2023, but the decision was stayed by a federal court on May 26. Kaur has been allowed to stay in Canada for the next 6 months as she is set to face more hearings during this duration.
Why are former students protesting in Canada?
Hundreds of people (mostly former students) are now agitating against deportation in Canada, setting up temporary shelters to stay at the protest sites in the Greater Toronto Area, Airport Road in Mississauga, and other areas.
According to the former students, who arrived in the country between 2017-2020, Mishra signed fake admission letters for them while charging anywhere between Rs 15-20 lakhs.
Though Mishra allegedly told them that they have been admitted to renowned Canadian colleges such as Seneca, Humber, etc, after landing in the country, they were informed that their admissions haven’t been confirmed leading them to take admissions to lesser-known, tier-2 institutions.
After finishing their academics, the individuals went on to attain their work permits and eventually continued with their PR process, which is when Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) identified their offer letters to be fake.
While Mishra is on the run, two of his associates have been arrested by the Punjab Police in connection with the matter.