Indian students protest deportation following immigration fraud scandal in Canada
10 June, 2023 | Mohamed Punnilath
Hundreds of Indian students, mostly from Punjab, have protested in Canada against a possible deportation order. The students are protesting against a fraud scandal in which they were admitted to Ca...
Hundreds of Indian students, mostly from Punjab, have protested in Canada against a possible deportation order. The students are protesting against a fraud scandal in which they were admitted to Canadian universities with fake letters of admission.
The Immigration Fraud :
The students, who arrived in Canada between 2017 and 2020, claim they were victims of a scam orchestrated by Jalandhar-based education consultant Brajesh Mishra. Mishra allegedly provided them with doctored admission letters from Canadian institutes, enabling the students to secure visas and travel to Canada. However, upon arrival, they were informed that the promised colleges were full, and Mishra arranged for their enrollment in other lesser-known institutions.
The immigration fraud came to light when these students applied for permanent residency, and the Canadian Border Service Agency (CBSA) identified the fraudulent admission letters. Consequently, deportation orders were issued to over 700 students, creating an atmosphere of uncertainty and fear among the affected individuals.
To voice their concerns and seek a resolution to their collective problem, the students launched an indefinite sit-in protest outside the CBSA office on Airport Road in Mississauga, Ontario. They have set up temporary shelters and displayed banners with slogans such as ‘Unite against deportation,’ ‘Stop deportation,’ and ‘We want justice.’
The students argue that they are being victimized for a crime they did not commit. They highlight their good academic records and the fact that they cleared the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam, questioning why they would need fake admission letters to reach Canada. Despite their pleas, an independent tribunal upheld the deportation orders, further deepening their sense of injustice.
Government Response and Support :
While the students actively engage in protests and social media campaigns to shed light on their case, they express disappointment with the Punjab and Union governments for their perceived lack of support. Punjab NRI Affairs Minister Kuldip Singh Dhaliwal has sought intervention from External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and urged Union Home Minister Amit Shah to cooperate in punishing the travel agents who cheated the students.
Efforts to resolve the matter have also involved AAP Rajya Sabha MP Vikram Singh Sahney, who has been in touch with the protesting students and raised the issue with Canadian immigration minister Sean Fraser. The Canadian government has assured that investigations into immigration fraud are underway.
This incident serves as a reminder for prospective students and their families to thoroughly verify the details of colleges and the records of travel agents before considering studying abroad. With over 2.5 lakh students migrating annually from Punjab to other countries, primarily Canada, it is crucial to exercise caution and conduct proper research.
As the protests continue and the fate of these students hangs in the balance, their fight for justice and the resolution of this immigration fraud scandal remains a pressing concern for both the Indian and Canadian governments.