June 14, 2023: Minister of Immigration Honourable Sean Fraser announced in a press release that a special task-force has been built to investigate & ‘help’ the distressed international students who are victims of fraud. Deportations have been halted while the investigation continues.
Minister Fraser recognized the significant affect that the recent events have had and continue to have on the mental health of hundreds of International students.
The victims of fraud will be given an opportunity to remain in Canada, & the students who will be determined to have partaken in the fraud knowingly will be subject to deportations.
Previous updates on the Indian Students Deportation Case:
On June 12, 2023, Immigration Minister Sean Fraser addressed the rising concern over the student visa fraud scandal involving allegations of fraudulent student visa applications. This followed a recent string of investigations and possible deportations regarding international students who allegedly used falsified documents to secure their student visas.
Minister Sean Fraser’s Statement
Fraser conveyed his message during the House of Commons question hour on June 12, stating,
“I’m glad to share that we have been working hard as we discuss a week ago. We’re working to develop a process to ensure that the innocent students ‘victims of fraud’ have the opportunity to remain in Canada.”
This statement marked a potential turning point in the ongoing crisis.
Watch the debate here:
Debate in the Parliament
During a discussion in the Canadian Parliament, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Sean Fraser, assured that innocent students who were victims of student visa fraud would have the opportunity to prove their situation. He stated,
“The innocent students, who are the victims of fraud, would be allowed to prove that they were taken advantage of.” Fraser further assured, “The government will provide an appropriate remedy for them.”
Fraser also acknowledged the significant mental health concerns faced by many students due to the uncertainty surrounding their immigration status.
In response to a question from Jenny Kwan, a member of the opposition New Democratic Party, Fraser stated, “We’ll put a process in place to allow them to prove that they were taken advantage of and provide an appropriate remedy for them.”
The Minister emphasized that strict action would be taken against fraudsters or individuals involved in student visa fraudulent schemes for not adhering to Canada’s laws.
Unfolding of the Scandal
The problem came into the open when some international students were accused of student visa fraud. The charges were that they used fake letters and other documents to get student visas. The main group caught up in the scandal were students from India. Investigations by Canadian immigration services and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) revealed a scam.
A Closer Look: Karanveer Singh’s Case
One notable case involves 24-year-old Karanveer Singh from Uttar Pradesh, India. Accused of using a fraudulent letter of acceptance from Loyalist College, Ontario, for his visa, Singh’s dream of a better life in Canada was suddenly at risk.
However, Singh claimed innocence, stating that the fraudulent actions were carried out by his immigration agent without his knowledge. Many other international students facing similar charges also told the same story.
Impact on Students and the Larger Community
This student visa fraud scandal has had significant consequences for the students involved and the larger international student community. Over 100 students have received removal orders since 2021. This sparked protests in Brampton and plans for further demonstrations in downtown Toronto. Students, asserting their victimhood in the situation, carried signs that read “We are victims,” “Our agent did fraud with us,” “We need your support,” and “We need justice.”
Government Response and Steps Forward
The Canadian government is taking action to address allegations of student visa fraudulent applications by Indian students. The government has taken note of this crisis and is actively seeking solutions. IRCC has reaffirmed its zero-tolerance policy on fraudulent documents while expressing a commitment to ensure that innocent victims are not penalized.
“Victims of fraud will have an opportunity to demonstrate their situation & present evidence to support their case,” said Fraser, indicating a shift in the focus of the investigation.
“We recognize the immense contributions international students bring to our country & remain committed to supporting victims of fraud as we evaluate each case,” Fraser further tweeted.
International Students Facing Removal Orders
International students who have been protesting against a removal order issued by Canadian immigration are facing a distressing situation. It has come to light that certain consultants in India deceived these students by using fake offer letters without their knowledge to obtain study permits for them.
These forged documents were so convincing that even the Canadian immigration department in India couldn’t detect them. Consequently, the students were granted study permits and entered Canada without any issues.
However, upon arrival, the consultants deceived the students further by falsely claiming that their admissions had been cancelled due to disagreements with the college. They advised the students to enroll in other colleges using their study permits, all without the students realizing the fraudulent nature of the situation.
After studying for 1-2 years and obtaining post-graduation work permits, the students applied for Canadian permanent residency, leveraging their valuable Canadian experience. Unfortunately, after 2-3 years, the immigration department sent them removal orders, accusing them of misrepresentation due to the use of fake documents.
These international students argue that if even trained immigration officers were unable to detect student visa fraud, they couldn’t have known about it. They were unwitting victims of this student visa fraudulent scheme throughout the entire process.
These removal orders are affecting students who have spent 3-4 years in Canada and are now applying for permanent residence. This situation has shed light on the need for better verification procedures to prevent such forgeries in the future.
Individual Stories – Lovepreet Singh and Karamjeet Kaur
Among the many affected by this scandal, the cases of Lovepreet Singh and Karamjeet Kaur stand out.
Karamjeet Kaur, who arrived in Canada on a study visa in 2018, was accused of using a fraudulent college offer letter. However, she found temporary relief when her deportation was delayed by a court order.
India’s External Affairs Minister, S Jaishankar, urged Canadian authorities to adopt a fair and humanitarian approach towards the students.
“If there were people who misled them (the students), the culpable parties should be acted upon. It is unfair to punish a student who undertook education in good faith… We are in touch with Canada on the issue.” – External Affairs Minister of India, S Jaishankar
“Some Indian students in Canada facing the prospect of deportation on charges of obtaining visas using fake admission letters have received ‘stay orders’ from Canadian authorities.” – Government sources in New Delhi.
The Canadian government is acknowledging the complexities of this issue and the potential impact on innocent students. It is actively seeking solutions, providing hope for students caught in the scandal. The situation continues to evolve, with both Canada and India working toward a resolution.
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