Genuine students victimised by fraud won't face deportation: Canada minister

Going humanitarian, Canada immigration minister Sean Fraser announced that the genuine students would be issued a Temporary Resident Permit

Canada immigration minister Sean Fraser (Photo: IANS)
Canada immigration minister Sean Fraser (Photo: IANS)
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IANS

Recognising the contribution of international students, especially students from Punjab who have been facing deportation from Canada over a case of fake documents, Canada's immigration minister Sean Fraser on Wednesday said the focus is on identifying those who are responsible for the fraudulent activity and not on penalising those who may have been affected by fraud.

Going humanitarian, he announced that the genuine students would be issued a Temporary Resident Permit.

"We recognise 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," Fraser said in a statement.

Asking the futy students to be alert and not to become the victims of fraud, he said all applicants must continue to ensure that, before applying for a study permit, they do their research, have an acceptance letter from a Designated Learning Institutions (DLI), and refer to the official website to get information about our programmes.

"If you believe you have been deceived by an unscrupulous consultant, we urge you to come forward and report fraud."

The Canadian minister said there have been recent reports of international students and graduates facing removal from Canada, after letters of acceptance submitted as part of their study permit application were determined to be fraudulent.


Many of these international students, he said, sincerely came to Canada to pursue their studies at some of "our world-class institutions and were duped by bad actors who claimed to be helping them in their immigration application process".

Other foreign nationals had no intent of pursuing higher education, and used fraudulent acceptance letters to take advantage of Canada's immigration system. Within this cohort of individuals, some have been involved in organised crime.

"I understand that this situation is distressing for those affected by unscrupulous actors, and I want to assure them that their well-being is of paramount importance. As a result, I have already struck a taskforce of my officials and have asked them to work closely with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to identify the victims of fraud; that is, those students who came to study here in Canada and did exactly that.

"I want to make it clear that international students who are not found to be involved in fraud will not face deportation," Fraser clarified in a statement in Ottawa.

"The Immigration Refugee Protection Act offers me discretionary authority which I believe should be exercised in the present context.

"Therefore, if the facts of an individual case are clear that an international student came to Canada with a genuine intent to study, and without knowledge of the use of fraudulent documentation, I have provided instructions for officers to issue a Temporary Resident Permit to that individual.


"This will ensure that these well-intentioned students and graduates can remain in Canada, and ensure that they are not subject to the five-year ban from re-entering Canada that normally follows in cases of misrepresentation.

"While this process runs its course, preliminary Temporary Resident Permits will be issued if they are required in order to prevent an imminent deportation for anyone under review."

Also the immigration minister asked officials of the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), which has been working even closer with Designated Learning Institutions (DLIs), provinces and territories, and organisations representing Canada's colleges and universities to better detect and combat fraud, and uphold the integrity of the immigration programmes.

"We are taking every opportunity to crack down on dishonest and fraudulent consultants who seek to abuse Canada's immigration system and take advantage of those seeking to visit, work, study or settle here in Canada.

"The government of Canada's focus is on identifying those who are responsible for the fraudulent activity and not on penalising those who may have been affected by fraud.

Earlier, the CBSA (Canada Border Services Agency) has issued deportation notices to students whose admission offer letters to educational institutions were found to be fake.


They filed visa applications 2018 onwards till 2022 through Jalandhar-based Education Migration Services headed by one Brijesh Mishra, who is on the run and has shut all his operations operating from Jalandhar. He is also accused of cheating students of tens of thousands of dollars. The students had gone to Canada on a study visa but the fraud came to light after they applied for permanent residency (PR) recently.

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