Mumbai: The Canadian Border Security Agency (CBSA) has reportedly sent deportation notices to hundreds of Indian students, who were found to have fake admission offer letters to educational institutions.
According to reports, the students had applied for study permits through a Jalandhar-based education agent named Brijesh Mishra, who heads a consultancy named Education Migration Overseas.
Mishra had charged more than Rs. 16 lakhs from the students for all expenses, including admission fees to a public college named Humber College, excluding the air tickets and security deposits.
The students, who had gone to Canada to pursue their education in 2018-2019, were caught off guard when their ‘admission offer letters’ came into scrutiny when they applied for their Permanent Residency (PR). The students had been working in Canada in different sectors once they were done with their graduation.
Though various reports suggested that 700 Indian students have been slapped with deportation notices, student representatives who are aware of the situation are saying otherwise.
“As far as we know only 70-80 students have been sent the deportation notices. We are trying to offer help to them through immigration lawyers. There’s no confirmation as of yet on the students being deported as it’s yet to go through judicial review,” said Harinder Singh, a member of the Canada-based Montreal Youth Student Organisation, which helps Indian, and international students in the country on a wide range of issues. Harinder added that the number of students being served the notices can go up.
Once students, individuals who are now working in Canada have raised doubts regarding the lack of oversight on the part of Canadian authorities who approved the study and work permits of the students.
“Canadian authorities approved the study permits of the students, who eventually attained work permits as well. The students were unaware of their admission letters being fake and it’s not their fault that an agent has cheated them by misleading them,” stated Varun Khanna, who is currently working in Ontario.
The students were initially offered admissions in reputed colleges, following which Mishra alerted them that the seats have been filled which led to the former enrolling in lesser-known, non-elite colleges.
According to Harinder, the students were made to sign their application forms instead of it being done by Mishra which has made it difficult to prove the latter’s involvement in the fraud.
The CBSA is also not accepting the failure of the Canadian visa and airport authorities that issued visas and allowed them entry by checking the authenticity of all documents, according to IANS.
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.
The three colleges soon after pushing up deadlines for tuition fees and requiring students to pay up hefty sums of money all of a sudden, issued a notice to the students in February that they were closing altogether.
Though such incidents pose a threat to students in India who wish to study in Canada, the numbers so far have been telling a positive tale.
According to Immigration Refugees Citizenship Canada (IRCC), 2,26,450 students from India made up the largest international student cohort in the North American country in 2022. Indians now make up over 35% of all study permits in Canada.
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