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Be considerate to the victims

Posted in Featured, View Point

Published on June 20, 2023 with No Comments

In a major relief to the protesting Indian students , the deportation proceeding initiated against Lovepreet Singh, which triggered the agitation, has been postponed until further notice. The protests began in Toronto on June 5 after Canadian authorities initiated removal proceedings against Lovepreet Singh. The Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) had directed Singh to leave the country by June 13 after the authorities found the offer letter on the basis of which he entered Canada six years ago on a study permit was fake. Singh was among the 700-odd students who were served deportation notices by the Canadian authorities over fraudulent documents.

All these cases, take us back to one Jalandhar-based consultant, Brijesh Mishra, who sent them to Canada on the basis of fake offer letters from prominent colleges and universities.  They received study permits and even the embassy officials couldn’t detect the forgery.

The students were the first one to detect something fishy upon

only upon their visit to their respective colleges and universities. They realised that they had not been registered in these institutions. Foreign students who have paid the school fees, visa and landing fee is made to fend for themselves as

Mishra made up excuses and convinced them to get enrolled in other colleges or wait for a semester! Almost all of them managed the same. All seemed well till they applied for their permanent residency. They came to know that their offer letter from the colleges as arranged by Brijesh Mishra were fake. The CBSA conducted a detailed investigation and zeroed in on Mishra’s firm Education and Migration Services. All students who had come through Mishra’s firm between 2016 and 2020 were then served deportation notices.

The students have studied, worked here and are even eligible for their permanent residency. They were misled first by the immigration consultant in India. This immigration consultant was smart enough that his misdeeds couldn’t be detected by the visa processing authorities in Canada. The students were victimised. It is not reasonable to punish the victims specially who undertook their education in good faith, paid all their fees, worked to support their education.

Even though the response from Prime Minister has come, and is being well appreciated. It is a delayed response.  Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stressed that his government was focused on “identifying the culprits, not penalizing the victims.” A committee of the House of Commons also passed a motion in favour of former international students from India facing potential deportation. He added, “Victims of fraud will have an opportunity to demonstrate their situation and present evidence to support their case. We remain committed to supporting victims of fraud as we evaluate each case.”  While the Prime Minister acknowledges it as a fraud, and the students as victims, CBSA had failed to recognise the same. CBSA preferred to issue deportation orders.

Letters prepared by the Brijesh Mishra evaded the scrutiny of the Canadian Embassy staff. It is essential for Canadian Embassy personnel to thoroughly examine all relevant documents, including college offer letters, before granting a visa. Furthermore, in Canada, students are allowed to change colleges after arriving in the country. As a result, the agent informed the students that their admission to a specific college had been cancelled or suggested that another college may be a better fit for them. This allowed the agent to manoeuvre the situation and facilitate the switch to a different educational institution. The case is fit to be investigated deeply to make the process of granting visa to students fool proof. These 700 students have suffered mental trauma for no fault of theirs. The demand to check a possible liaison between the immigration consultant and the visa official in embassy is gaining ground, and should be probed.

Some of these students have been living in Canada for half a decade and many are now reportedly working in essential frontline jobs. And now to deny them the permanent residency for no fault of theirs is adding insult to injury. Authorities need to be compassionate and adopt a suitable pathway to  permanent status for the students. It could be a humanitarian or broad regularisation program.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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