On June 8, the Punjab government received assurances from Union External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar that the Ministry of External Affairs and the Indian High Commission in Canada will assist the 700 Indians who were being deported due to a case of forged documents. The majority of them, who are from Punjab, have stated that their immigration consultant duped them by sending them to Canada using fake college admission offer letters.
Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal, the minister for NRI affairs in Punjab, had asked Jaishankar to get involved since he believed the students were the victims of fraud.
The 700 Indians have also been told by Justin Trudeau, the prime minister of Canada, that each case will be examined separately and that they will be given the chance to make their case.
When these Indians, who had completed their education and found employment, filed for permanent residence in Canada in March, the Canadian Border Security Agency (CBSA) informed them that their college acceptance letters had been fraudulent and that they would have to be deported.
Since May 29, hundreds of Indian students, mostly from Punjab, have congregated outside the CBSA headquarters and are participating in a “indefinite sit-in” to oppose these deportations. They contend that their expulsion from the nation where they finished their education, obtained legal employment for five years, and lived lawfully would be a grave injustice. The majority of them entered Canada between 2017 and 2018 on student visas.
Kramjit Kaur, a student from Punjab, had been given the go-ahead to depart Canada by May 29 but her expulsion orders were swiftly overturned. Lovepreet Singh, a different student from Mohali in the Punjab province, has been told to leave the country by June 13 and is currently fighting his case in court.
The majority of these students arrived in Canada using acceptance letters sent to them by Brijesh Mishra, a Jalandhar-based agent. Mishra was the CEO of a company named Education Migration Services. He is currently wanted by the authorities and has vanished. Each student would be charged lakhs of rupees for the processing of their paperwork. After obtaining offer letters for the impacted students, he asked them to change colleges after their arrival in Canada, providing various justifications.
According to one of the affected Jalandhar ladies, “When I reached Canada in 2018, my agent, who had paid me almost Rs16 lakh, contacted and asked me to enrol in another institution because the one for which I had received the admission letter was completely full. He gave me some of my money back and assisted me in getting accepted to a different college where I continued my studies. Until I learned that the admission letter I used to get my visa from the CBSA was a fake, I had no idea what his goals were.
The state government registers consultants and agents who assist students. People who operate in the industry told The Indian Express that because students typically trust their agents, they do not verify the validity of the offer letter.
The agent simply informed them that their admission to a particular college had “fallen through” or that another college could be a better fit for them because Canada permits students to switch colleges after arriving in the country.
Mishra must have known that offer letters from respectable institutions are not closely scrutinised, according to an educational consultant who has been sending students to Canada for more than ten years. However, the consultant found it strange that so many offer letters from one college were disregarded at the embassy level, where careful consideration is given before granting a visa.
In comparison to other private colleges, he added, “the second reason is that if a particular college is quite reputable, an offer letter from it enhances the visa success rate.
The misled students informed Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) of their decision to transfer institutions after arriving in Canada, along with the information required by Designated Learning Institute (DLI), their ID number, and the name of the new college.
The Jalandhar police have charged Mishra and two collaborators, and the agency’s licence has been revoked. Investigations are also being conducted into the role of Canadian embassy employees who issued visas based on these false letters.