The Honorable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (IRCC), has provided an update concerning reports of international student fraud. An estimated 700 international students from India face deportation from Canada after the federal government discovered that the Letters of Admission (LOAs), which formed the basis of their entry into Canada, were forged.
The LOAs were reportedly forged by an unscrupulous immigration consultant in India who charged the students a fee to help them study in Canada and has since disappeared. The students claim they were unaware of the consultant’s fraudulent behavior.
In response to this situation, a task force has been created that engages teams from IRCC and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to identify the victims of fraud. IRCC and CBSA are looking at every individual case that is subject to a removal order. This will allow all affected students to demonstrate whether they knew about the fraudulent scheme admitting students to Canada based on fake letters of acceptance.
Fraser emphasized that international students unaware of or involved in the fraud would not face deportation. Suppose the facts are clear that an individual student came to Canada with a genuine intent to study without knowledge of the fraudulent documentation. In that case, Fraser has instructed IRCC officers to issue a Temporary Resident Permit to that individual. This will ensure that well-intentioned students can remain in Canada and are not subject to a 5-year ban from re-entering Canada due to misrepresentation.
The GovernmentGovernment is exploring solutions so that these students have a fair chance to apply for permanent residency. Fraser says that IRCC will give these individuals access to a specific permanent residency (PR) process where senior IRCC and CBSA officials will consider each case rather than go through the normal PR process.
IRCC is working with Designated Learning Institutions (DLIs), provinces and territories, and organizations representing Canada’s colleges and universities to detect better and combat fraud and uphold the integrity of Canada’s immigration programs. The GovernmentGovernment focuses on identifying those responsible for the fraudulent activity and not penalizing those affected.
Fraser concluded by saying: “We recognize the immense contributions that international students make to our country, and we are committed to providing a path to Canada that is honest and transparent. All applicants must continue to ensure that, before applying for a study permit, they do their research, have an acceptance letter from a DLI, and refer to the official website to get information about our programs. If you believe an unscrupulous consultant has deceived you, we urge you to come forward and report fraud.”