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Are those students criminals or victims?

Posted in Featured, View Point

Published on March 24, 2023 with No Comments

With an admission letter in hand for a reputable Ontario college, youth from Punjab landed in Canada in 2018 with hopes for a better life. Most of them hailing from Jalandhar district. They completed their studies, worked to aid their college fees and were able to secure their work permits. Some of them are close to obtaining their permanent residency too. However, more than two years after completing their students, close of 700 of them have been told that the letter they used to enter Canada were fake, and they face action under the law. So close to their permanent residency, their dream of settling in Canada is likely to be shattered. The number of such cases is not clear that have received their orders from the Canada Border Service Agency (CBSA), media in Canada and India have been reporting that these international students are facing deportation from Canada to India after their admission letters, procured through the same overseas agency, were found to be counterfeit.

Not only were their documents checked at the time of seeking the visa, but also at the time of entry in Canada by CBSA. However, their case took a unique turn when the immigration company from Jalandhar informed them that the colleges they received offers from were overbooked or on strike, but they were free to seek admission in other institutes.  They were able to get admission in alternate institutes and again at this time the offer letter from the previous institutes must have been scrutinised.  They completed their studies and gained Canadian work experience on a Post Graduation Work Permit (PGWP). The fraud by the immigration company in India only came to light when they applied for permanent residence (PR) status. The Canada Border Security Agency’s scrutiny revealed that the initial offer letters from the Canadian institutions were forged. The students have now received deportation notices.

The students are now in a condition where they are nothing but victimised. First the immigration company that arranged those forged offer letters, and then various authorities in Canada that failed to detect the forgery; whether they were the officers at the airports allowing entry, admission counsellors in alternate colleges that allowed admissions. Are those students criminals or victims?

These students are looking for justice. They are victims of fraud. Some of them may be without any criminal record. They came to Canada as legitimate students who completed their programs at the university or colleges. Some of them successfully received study permit extensions. Also, they fulfilled various requirements for work permit and now for permanent residency but are facing removal orders.

It is a need of the hour that the Federal government intervenes in the matter and review the deportation orders, as the incident demands a broader investigation. The authorities should not forget that the immigration company in India was able to breach the immigration process of Canada. The student visas and work permits were granted on the basis of forged documents pertaining to the Canadian institutions. This raises serious questions on proficiency of Canadian immigration regime. Instead of punishing the immigration company in India, the students are being punished. The best Canadian authorities have done so far is to get Indian authorities on board. The latter has cancelled the licence of the company based at Jalandhar, Punjab.

Is that action enough? No doubt Canadian authorities can’t do much with the immigration companies in India. These students need to know whether the agencies in Canada were duped by this immigration company or the company had any accomplice  in Canada. Also, the Federal government needs to assure the immigrants what it had done so that there is no repeat of such a case.








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