In a significant development, a Canadian parliamentary committee has unanimously voted to urge the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to halt the deportation of nearly 700 Indian students who fell victim to unscrupulous education consultants in India. These students were deceived into entering Canada with "fraudulent college admission letters."
The issue came to light in March when the affected students applied for permanent residency in Canada and authorities discovered the falsity of their "admission offer letters" to educational institutions. Expressing solidarity with the students, the all-party immigration committee symbolically voted on Wednesday, calling on the CBSA to waive the inadmissibility of these students, as reported by The Toronto Star.
Moreover, the committee has also urged the CBSA to provide the affected students, numbering approximately 700 from India, with an alternative pathway to permanent residence based on humanitarian grounds or through a "regularization" program. Jenny Kwan, a lawmaker who tabled the motion, emphasized that these students should not be penalized, as they are victims of fraud.
Jenny Kwan stated, "So as a first step, this is absolutely essential and necessary. The students are victims of fraud and should not be penalized." She further highlighted the dire situation faced by the students, including financial losses and the threat of deportation.
Liberal MP Shafqat Ali, representing Brampton Centre, where many affected students currently reside, called for empathy towards the students, denouncing any attempts to exploit their situation for political gain. He acknowledged the challenges these students have endured and continue to face.
Responding to the situation, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Sean Fraser, took to Twitter, stating that the government is actively seeking a solution for international students facing uncertainty due to fraudulent college admission letters. He assured that those responsible for taking advantage of students' aspirations to study in Canada will face consequences, while innocent victims will be given fair consideration for their cases.
We are actively pursuing a solution for intl students who are facing uncertainty due to having been admitted to Canada with fraudulent college admission letters.— Sean Fraser (@SeanFraserMP) June 7, 2023
Those who have taken advantage of people genuinely hoping to study here will face consequences for their actions.
India's External Affairs Minister, S Jaishankar, confirmed that India has raised the issue with Canadian authorities and stressed the need to hold accountable those who misled the students. He also mentioned that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has addressed the matter in the House of Commons, indicating ongoing communication between the two countries.
Trudeau, in response to a question posed by Indian-origin MP Jagmeet Singh, emphasized the government's focus on identifying the culprits rather than penalizing the victims. He assured that victims of fraud would have an opportunity to present their situations and provide evidence to support their cases. Recognizing the invaluable contributions of international students, Trudeau reiterated Canada's commitment to supporting victims of fraud and evaluating each case on its merits.
Furthermore, the parliamentary committee passed a motion to issue a news release condemning the actions of fraudulent "ghost consultants." It also approved a two-meeting study to investigate the targeted exploitation scheme faced by Punjabi international students. Additionally, the committee intends to invite Minister Sean Fraser, Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino, and their staff to provide a comprehensive briefing on the situation.
This development marks a significant step in addressing the plight of Indian students deceived by fraudulent admission letters, as efforts are made to provide them with a fair alternative and protect them from further harm caused by unscrupulous consultants.
(With PTI Inputs)