Canada Indian students Punjab deportation
The students have assembled at a makeshift shelter on Airport Road in Mississauga, outside the head office of the CBSA, for what they say will be an "indefinite sit-in" since May 29 | Image courtesy: Twitter/@simran12minhas

Indian students protest in Canada after deportation threat over admission fraud

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Scores of Indian students from Punjab are staging protests in Canada after authorities said they will be deported for obtaining visas on the basis of fraudulent admission letters for Canadian universities.

Media reports say the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has issued deportation letters to an estimated 700 Indian students, creating a tumult that has found an echo in Canada’s parliament.

Some of the protesting students say they reached Canada in 2017 but the fake letters have come to light now when they had finished their education and applied for permanent residency.

The other affected students also landed in Canada in 2018, 2019 and 2020.

The CBSA says the students’ admission offer letters were fake.

Also read: Fraudulent applications: Indian students face curbs from 5 Australian universities

Affected students

Chamandeep Singh, one of the protesting students, told NDTV that when he and his friends reached Canada, their agent told them that the seats were full in college for which they had got admission letters.

The agent reportedly said that universities were overbooking and they can be transferred to another college — and that is what happened.

Lovepreet Singh, another student, said the fears of deportation have psychologically affected the students.

“We request the Indian government to raise this issue with the Canadian government. We are innocent and have been cheated… I got a deportation notice for June 30. We put our lives’ savings to come to Canada and now we have been asked to go back,” he said.

Punjab’s NRI Minister Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal called it one of the biggest immigration scams in India.

He urged External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar to take up the matter with the authorities in Canada.

Also read: Number of Indian students in US rose in 2022, those from China declined: Report

Trudeau on students

In the Canadian parliament, New Democratic Party (NDP) leader Jagmeet Singh asked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau if he will stay the deportation of the students.

“Our focus is on identifying the culprits, not penalising the victims,” Trudeau said. “Victims of this fraud will have an opportunity to demonstrate and present evidence for their case. We recognise the immense contributions the international students bring to our country.”

The students have assembled at a makeshift shelter on Airport Road in Mississauga, outside the head office of the CBSA, for what they say will be an “indefinite sit-in” since May 29.

The Punjab government has appealed to people in Punjab that before sending their children for studies abroad, they must check the details of the college and the records of the travel agent.

According to the Times of India, more than 2.5 lakh students migrate every year from Punjab to other countries, mainly Canada.

The man who allegedly masterminded the scam is known only by his surname Mishra, who charged Rs 15-20 lakh from each student just for what turned out to be fake university admission offers. He on the run from the Punjab Police.

(With agency inputs)

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