In a significant development, a Canadian parliamentary committee has unanimously voted to intervene in the case of nearly 700 Indian students who are currently facing deportation. These students fell victim to deceitful education consultants in India who provided them with fraudulent college admission letters to enter Canada.
The students, predominantly from Punjab, are now at risk of being deported after Canadian authorities discovered that their admission offer letters were falsified. The situation came to light in March when the students applied for permanent residency in Canada.
In a symbolic move aimed at providing relief to the affected students, the all-party immigration committee unanimously passed a motion on Wednesday urging the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to waive the students’ inadmissibility. The Toronto Star reported that the committee also called on the CBSA to explore alternative pathways for the affected students, such as humanitarian grounds or a regularization program, to enable them to obtain permanent residence in Canada.
Jenny Kwan, the lawmaker who introduced the motion, referred to the students as victims of fraud and emphasized the necessity of this initial step to prevent their further penalization. She stated, “These students, I’ve met with many of them, now are just in such a terrible state. They’ve lost money, and they are stuck in a terrible situation. And some of them have deportation orders. Others have pending meetings with CBSA.”
Liberal MP Shafqat Ali also expressed empathy for the students, condemning any exploitation of their situation and urging a focus on their well-being rather than political maneuvering. Ali, who represents Brampton Centre, where many of the affected students currently reside, acknowledged the tremendous hardships they have endured and continue to face.
Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Sean Fraser took to Twitter to address the issue, stating that the Canadian government is actively seeking a solution for international students affected by fraudulent college admission letters. He emphasized that those who took advantage of students’ aspirations to study in Canada would face consequences, while innocent victims would have their cases evaluated fairly.
India’s External Affairs Minister, S Jaishankar, stated that the Indian government has raised the issue with Canadian authorities. Jaishankar emphasized the importance of holding accountable those responsible for misleading the students, asserting that it is unjust to punish students who pursued education in good faith.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also addressed the matter, acknowledging the cases of international students facing removal orders due to fraudulent college acceptance letters. Trudeau clarified that the focus is on identifying the culprits rather than penalizing the victims. He assured that victims of fraud would have the opportunity to present their cases and provide evidence to support their situation. Trudeau emphasized the significant contributions that international students make to Canada and reiterated the government’s commitment to supporting victims of fraud.
Additionally, the parliamentary committee passed a motion to issue a news release condemning the actions of the fraudulent “ghost consultants.” The committee also plans to conduct a study over two meetings to investigate the targeted exploitation scheme experienced by Punjabi international students. Furthermore, the committee has decided to request briefings from Minister Sean Fraser, Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino, and their respective staff members on the situation.
The unanimous decision of the Canadian parliamentary committee has given hope to the 700 Indian students facing deportation. It signifies a collective effort to rectify the injustice they have experienced and find a fair resolution for their future in Canada.