In a recent investigation conducted by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), it was discovered that at least 700 students from India had handed in fraudulent admission documents to receive visas. Since the documentation was found to be fake, Indian students studying in Canadian universities were illegal immigrants, so each of them received deportation letters from the CBSA. Most of the students who have received these letters, a majority of them hailing from Punjab, have been living and studying in Canada since 2017-2018, but only now has this fraudulent scheme come to light.
The Indians, however, are not giving up without a fight. They have taken to the streets to protest against their deportation, insisting that they were given fake offer letters to get them into Canadian universities and colleges in a scheme planned by travel agencies in India. Since May 29, students have protested outside the CBSA head office, calling it an ‘indefinite sit-in’ in an effort to protect their citizenship.
The students who are at risk of being deported were allegedly given study visas by submitting admissions applications that were forged by a Jalandhar Education Migration Services agent named Brijesh Mishra. According to Times Now, each student was made to pay 16 lakh rupees for expenses including admission fees and document processing, but excluding travel costs.
Currently, the deportation of the immigrants has been postponed, and talks are being held by the Canadian and Indian governments to determine the next steps in the matter. The Minister of External Affairs, S Jaishankar, said it would be ‘unfair’ to deport students for no fault of theirs, and was met with support from Canadian officials as well.
The Canadian Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship, Sean Fraser, stated, “Those international students that are genuine applicants who came here to study and were victimised by fraudsters will be given permission to remain in Canada. We need to do what we can to protect the ability of those innocent people to remain in Canada.”
Justin Trudeau, the Prime Minister of Canada, aims to ‘identify the culprits’ rather than punish the victims of the scheme, saying “Victims of this fraud will have an opportunity to demonstrate and present evidence for their case. We recognise the immense contributions that the international students bring to our country.”
Trudeau also mentioned that those students who were actively involved in the fraudulent activity will receive the full consequences for their actions, but those who are innocent will not be penalised.