Dozens of international students in Canada, primarily from India, are facing expulsion for allegedly using fraudulent documents to obtain their student visas. Many of these students claim that they were unaware of the forgeries and that they were done without their knowledge by the agents who handled their visa applications. The Canadian federal immigration minister is investigating these allegations.
Background and Dreams Crashed
Karanveer Singh, a 24-year-old from Uttar Pradesh, India, received a letter of acceptance from Loyalist College, a public college in Ontario, in 2019 for a business administration program. The letter was used to get Singh’s student visa, and he arrived in Canada with the dream of building a better life and supporting his physically disabled father back home.
But his dream was shattered when the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) accused him of using a fraudulent letter of acceptance from Loyalist College to obtain his visa. Singh said he was unaware of any forgeries and was defrauded by his agent in India. His post-graduation work permit application was denied, and he now faces a removal order from Canada.
The Agent and Other Victims
Singh’s immigration agent has reportedly defrauded other clients in India. Singh said he paid the agent to handle his student visa application and was asked to switch from Loyalist to Canada College, a private career college in Montreal. Singh completed his two-year business administration course and graduated in April 2021. The CBSA accused him of using a fraudulent letter of acceptance from Loyalist College to obtain his student visa.
Singh is one of the many victims of this immigration scam. Harinder Singh, a 22-year-old activist at the Montreal Youth Student Organization, is tracking over 100 international students who have received removal orders since 2021 for using a fake letter of acceptance in their student visa applications.
Protests and Appeals
The victims of this immigration scam claim that they did not know that their agents used fraudulent documents in their initial student visa applications. These students have been protesting and appealing to the government to review their cases. They organized protests in Brampton and plan to hold another in downtown Toronto, urging the federal government to review their cases. Students carried signs that read “We are victims,” “Our agent did fraud with us,” “We need your support” and “We need justice.”
Student Visa Process and Regulations
International students who want to study in Canada must meet certain requirements, including submitting a letter of acceptance from a designated learning institution, a valid passport or travel document, and proof of financial support. They must also undergo a medical exam and obtain a study permit before they can enter Canada. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) state that they have a zero-tolerance policy on fraudulent documents, and that they are committed to ensuring that Canadian immigration laws and regulations are followed.
Impact of Immigration Scams
Immigration scams can have severe consequences for victims, including fines, deportation, and a permanent bar from entering Canada. For international students, this can mean a loss of money, time, and effort invested in pursuing their education and career goals in Canada. It can also affect their families who have supported them in their dreams. The effects of immigration scams go beyond the individual victims; it affects the image of Canada as a welcoming and inclusive society that values diversity and multiculturalism.
The government’s response to the activities of Citizenship Consultants is to regulate their actions and prevent fraudulent activities that may result in illegal immigration, identity theft, and other illegal activities. Governments around the world have set up regulatory bodies and laws to monitor and control the activities of Citizenship Consultants.
How To Avoid Scams:
To avoid falling victim to immigration scams, it is important for international students to exercise caution when dealing with immigration consultants or agents. Using the services of regulated immigration consultants or lawyers who are members of the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council or the Law Society of Ontario can help ensure that students receive accurate and reliable advice.
Students should also be aware of red flags such as promises of guaranteed visas or unrealistic job opportunities, and carefully review any documents or applications before submitting them. Seeking the advice of a qualified professional if there are any concerns or questions is also recommended.
If a student has been impacted by an immigration scam, they should seek the assistance of a qualified immigration lawyer or consultant to review their case and determine what options are available to them.