Believing that immigrant students, largely from Punjab, who have been facing deportation from Canada over a case of fake documents, are the victims of fraud, the country’s Immigration Minister Sean Fraser said they would put a process in place to allow them to prove that they were taken advantage of and provide an appropriate remedy for them.
During Question Hour at the House of Commons on Monday, Fraser reiterated that they were working on helping innocent students.
“I’m glad to share that we have been working hard as we discussed a week ago. We’re working to develop a process to ensure that the innocent students, who are the victims of fraud, have an opportunity to remain in Canada,” he said in response to a question from Jenny Kwan, a member of the opposition New Democratic Party.
Fraser said people who knowingly committed fraud or were complicit in fraudulent scheme would bear the consequences of not following Canadian laws.
Acknowledging the mental health concerns of the affected students with the uncertainty they are facing, he said they would put a process in place to allow them to prove they were taken advantage of and provide a remedy for them.
The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has issued deportation notices to students whose admission offer letters to educational institutes 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.
He is s 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.
Standing behind the students facing deportation, Kwan, an MP for Vancouver East, had earlier moved two motions at the immigration committee in support of the international students subjected to exploitation scheme.
She questioned how this situation was allowed to happen and why fraudulent documents were not detected until years later when the students began to apply for permanent status.
Kwan asked the immigration committee to examine how to prevent similar situations from occurring in the future.
Saying the data of 700 Indian students who fear deportation is factually incorrect and highly exaggerated, Punjab-origin MP Sukh Dhaliwal said their number could be around 200.
“As per our (MPs) briefing (by the government), their number could be around 200, 50 cases are under consideration and some of them have already been deported,” Dhaliwal said.
He said only one student from Punjab who is facing deportation has contacted him.
“As per our information gathered by my office, the student, who passed out of a two-year programme from Langara College with high grades, is a genuine victim of fraud.
“We are in regular touch with the CBSA and immigration minister Sean Fraser and asked them to evaluate individually those who were actually cheated and each one will be given the opportunity to present his/her case…The victim should not be punished but the culprit be brought to justice,” he added.
Dhaliwal said it is a network of immigration cheats, mainly based in Punjab and Delhi, who have colluded to cheat the Canadian system by getting the students admitted to a college on misrepresentation of facts and fraudulent details.
Lovepreet Singh, the first among the students to be deported on June 13, from Punjab’s Mohali is accused by Canadian authorities of obtaining a visa on fraudulent admission letter for a Canadian university.
His deportation has now been stayed.
Social media has scores of stories about victims from India losing thousands of dollars to ghost or unauthorised consultants.
Many innocent people later realise that their consultants were unauthorised and not only cheated them but also ruined the application for permanent residency too.