Minister Fraser provides update on 700 international students facing deportation from Canada
Press reports have recently shed light on an estimated 700 international students from India facing deportation from Canada after the federal government discovered the Letters of Admissions (LOAs) which formed the basis of their entry into Canada were in fact forged. LOAs are issued by Canadian Designated Learning Institutions (DLIs) that are accredited by the government to welcome international students. With an LOA in hand, prospective international students can submit study permit applications to IRCC to be able to move to Canada. The reports indicate the LOAs were 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 behaviour.
Fraser first states that the well-being of those who were affected by unscrupulous actors is of paramount importance. As a result, a taskforce has been created that engages teams from IRCC and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to identify the victims of fraud.
Fraser also notes that IRCC and CBSA are looking at every individual case that is subject to a removal order. This will give an opportunity for all of the affected students to demonstrate whether they knew about the fraudulent scheme that was admitting students to Canada on the basis of fake letters of acceptance. Those who knowingly broke the rules will be subjected to the consequences in the legislation, which includes removals.
Fraser emphasizes the international students that were not aware or involved in the fraud will not face deportation, as those students do not deserve to be removed from Canada.
If the facts are clear that an individual student came to Canada with a genuine intent to study without knowledge of the fraudulent documentation, 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. In addition, this will ensure the students are not subject to a 5-year ban from re-entering Canada due to misrepresentation.
Fraser explains the government 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 individual case, rather than go through the ordinary PR process.
Fraser and IRCC recognize that there is a unique fact pattern in this case. Many students were exploited and taken advantage of by fraudsters and there should not be any moral blameworthiness in these cases.
In addition, the statement outlines that IRCC is working with Designated Learning Institutions (DLIs), provinces and territories, and organizations representing Canada’s colleges and universities to better detect and combat fraud and uphold the integrity of Canada’s immigration programs.
Finally, the statement explains that the Government is focused on identifying those responsible for the fraudulent activity and not penalizing those who were 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 you have been deceived by an unscrupulous consultant, we urge you to come forward and report fraud.”