International students Ontario
International students Ontario This article is more than 1 year old

Students Defrauded By Fake College Admissions Letters Could Face Deportation Due to Cracks in Canada’s ‘Faulty Immigration System’

“Everybody's mentally so broken right now”

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Hundreds of international students are facing the possibility of being deported from Canada  after being defrauded by fake college admissions letters.

The students, who travelled to Canada from India, have been protesting day and night outside a Canadian Border Services Agency office in Mississauga to protest deportation orders issued to international students who received fake college admissions letters from consultants in India.

According to the Naujawan Support Network, a group of international students and workers from Brampton, Ontario who rally against student exploitation, two students have been informed their deportations have been postponed, while others are currently awaiting hearings.

“There is a flaw in the IRCC. How come a small agent from a small town in Punjab, India can manipulate the Canadian system?” Gurjeet Singh of NSN told PressProgress.

“The faulty immigration system is responsible.”

Singh says this type of fraud and international student exploitation is far too common, and despite the fact that there are many checks and balances before students arrive, fraud by international agents continues to fly under the radar.

“We want to stop this because they’re exploiting the life of the students who came to Canada with good faith.”

Vinay Sally is one of those students. 

Sally came to Canada in 2018 as an international student and was unaware that the offer letter provided by his immigration agent was fake. He was forced to go to a different college than the one he originally applied to and lost all the money he paid the agent for tuition.

“I studied in Montreal and then got my post graduation work permit and I even got my extension work permit as well,” Sally told PressProgress while speaking from the protest site.

“Suddenly, last year, I got a letter from the CBSA which states that I’m inadmissible.”

Cases like Sally’s are “not an exception,” and there are hundreds of students in the same situation, says Sarom Rho of Migrant Workers Alliance for Change.

“This case clearly shows us that it’s the students themselves, it’s migrants themselves who get punished, who are facing being torn apart from their friends, their homes and their lives here,” Rho told PressProgress.

“Many of the students who are going through this right now have spent more than half a decade in this country.”

Rho says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised a regularization program, but there has been little progress in making that a reality. 

“We are calling on immigration minister Sean Fraser and Prime Minister Trudeau to ensure permanent resident status by immediately creating a regularization program that is uncapped and will waive inadmissibility on the basis of misrepresentation so that the students can be included,” Rho added.

Many of the students have not only been issued deportation orders, but have also been deemed “inadmissible for permanent residency.”

“Inadmissibility means ‘not allowed to apply’ and once you become inadmissible to this country, it’s nearly impossible for you to fight it unless you go through a lengthy and expensive federal court process, which there’s no guarantee about,” Rho says.

“(This issue) clearly exposes an immigration system that is bringing people in on temporary permits. And what it’s doing is creating a permanent underclass of workers and people in this country who don’t have the same rights as everybody else.”

Sally says the process has been mentally and financially exhausting.

“I’m just still waiting for my result from the immigration hearing. This is the battle we all are fighting here,” Sally said.

“We all are fighting for justice, because it’s been injustice which has been done to us. It’s none of our fault.”

Sally describes the last few years as “mental torture” as he and many others await their fate after spending tens of thousands of dollars on lawyers fees and being unable to work because of ongoing immigration hearings. 

“Everybody’s mentally so broken right now,” Sally added.

Due to the precarious situation over his immigration status, Sally was unable to return to India for his father’s funeral because he would not be allowed back in the country. 

“This is the complete mistake of the immigration system of Canada. And they have to understand this thing to save the integrity of the immigration system,” Sally said. 

“If they were unsuccessful in finding those fraudulent things, how would we be able to do that? 

Sally adds that he is tired of empty promises from politicians.

“We don’t want anything, any kind of empathy on social media—we want results,” Sally said.

“Last week I met a couple of students who got their Visa on a fraudulent offer letter. So this is very alarming for the immigration system—ghost agents, who are messing up with the system, they’re still doing the same thing to students.”

Meanwhile, the IRCC says that they “measures in place to detect fraud and to flag these in our system in order to deter future fraud.” 

“Victims of fraud will always have an opportunity to demonstrate their situation and present evidence to support their case,” an IRCC spokesperson said in a statement to PressProgress.

“IRCC is undertaking a review of the International Student Program to strengthen program integrity and enhance protections to address student vulnerability, unethical recruitment and non-genuine actors in the program.”

The CBSA did not immediately respond to a request for comment from PressProgress.


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Rumneek Johal
Rumneek Johal is PressProgress' BC Reporter. Her reporting focuses on systemic inequality, workers and communities, as well as racism and far-right extremism.

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