29 September 2023
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Hours after External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar called Indian students facing deportation in Canada over “fake admission offer letters” “unfair”, a parliamentary committee voted unanimously to urge border services to cease the expulsion of nearly 700 students.

These students, mostly from Punjab, now face deportation after it was found that the admission letters offered to them were fake. The matter came to light in March when these students applied for permanent residency in Canada.

In a symbolic move, the all-party immigration committee voted unanimously on Wednesday to call on the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to waive the inadmissibility of the affected students, The Toronto Star newspaper reported.

The CBSA has also been asked to provide the students with an alternative to permanent residency in the country on humanitarian grounds or through a regularisation programme.

“So as a first step, this is absolutely essential and necessary. The students are victims of fraud and should not be penalised. 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,” said Jenny Kwan, the lawmaker who tabled the motion.

‘Need to have empathy for students’

Liberal MP Shafqat Ali said, “We need to have empathy for those students, and we should not exploit the situation and play politics on this issue of those innocent students.”

On Wednesday, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Sean Fraser said on Twitter, “We are actively pursuing a solution for intl students who are facing uncertainty due to having been admitted to Canada with fraudulent college admission letters.”

“Those who have taken advantage of people genuinely hoping to study here will face consequences for their actions,” he said in a separate tweet, adding that innocent victims would be given every opportunity to have their cases considered fairly.

PM Trudeau responds

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau while responding to a question by Indian-origin MP Jagmeet Singh, said, “We are deeply aware of cases of international students facing removal orders over fraudulent college acceptance letters.”

“To be clear, our focus is on identifying the culprits, not penalising the victims. Victims of fraud will have an opportunity to demonstrate their situations and present evidence to support their cases,” he said.

“We recognise the immense contributions international students bring to our country and we remain committed to supporting victims of fraud as we evaluate each case,” he added.

With inputs from PTI

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Abdul Gh Lone