On June 23rd, Reuters reported that Canadian authorities had arrested Brijesh Mishra, an immigration agent from Jalandhar. On July 24th, the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) charged Brijesh Mishra with defrauding 700 Indian students.
Canadian authorities faced a situation where Indian students were at risk of mass deportation due to the fraud. Both students and India’s foreign ministry appealed to Canadian authorities to reconsider the students’ deportation and reevaluate their eligibility for studying in Canada.
Following the plea, Canadian authorities decided not to deport the Indian students who were victims of the immigration fraud. Canadian Public Safety Minister Marco E L Mendicino provided an update on the situation in a letter. Some students had expressed concerns about their visa status to the minister in early June, prompting him to provide updates on the number of students still facing potential deportation.
The investigation revealed that in 2018, the CBSA started looking into organized crime groups and found issues with students involved in criminal activities and gangs instead of attending school. Tips from the public in 2020 led them to identify around 2,000 cases of potential student visa fraud. With the help of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), they narrowed down the cases to approximately 300 of concern.
In 2022, there were over 800,000 foreign students with active visas in Canada, including around 320,000 from India.
In an earlier incident in 2023, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) reported that some Indian students had received deportation notices for using forged documents in an alleged immigration scheme. The students had been sent acceptance letters that appeared to be from universities, but the CBSA informed them that the documents were fake and warned about potential deportation.
Canadian officials stated their commitment to taking action against those responsible for fraud while protecting students who genuinely came to study. In June, Immigration Minister Sean Fraser announced a freeze on planned deportations of students who had entered the country with fraudulent university letters.
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