Agent Denies Issuing Fake Admissions To Indian Students In Canada
TORONTO, (IANS) – An immigration agent, accused of cheating several Indian students of tens of thousands of dollars by issuing fake college admission letters to procure study permits to Canada, has denied charges against him.
Brijesh Mishra, who has been under arrest in a British Columbia jail since June, said he has been scapegoated by dozens of international students from India, the Toronto Star reported.
“They are blaming me for covering their mistakes,” Mishra said, making his first public appearance before an immigration tribunal in Toronto via video link on November 1.
The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has charged Mishra with offering immigration advice without a license, and with counselling a person to directly or indirectly misrepresent or withhold information from authorities.
In March this year, CBSA issued deportation notices to hundreds of Indian students, mostly from Punjab, whose admission offer letters to educational institutions were found to be
Most of these students facing deportation had filed visa applications from 2018 onwards till 2022 through Jalandhar-based Education Migration Services, which was headed by Mishra.
They had gone to Canada on a study visa, but the fraud came to light after they applied for permanent residency. Mishra reportedly charged each student between Rs 16 to Rs 20 lakh for all expenses including admission fees to a premier institute Humber college.
“He has no answer when he was asked as to what he was doing in Canada, why so many students had accused him as the primary architect of the fraud, and why he has been charged by CBSA and was still in jail,” said Sumit Sen, a lawyer representing one of the student victims, said.
In June, following investigations into fraudulent admissions letters, an Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship of Canada taskforce was formed to work with the CBSA to review the cases of affected students and graduates.
Of the 103 cases reviewed by October 12, this year, 63 were found to be genuine students and 40 were not.
To strengthen Canada’s International Student Program, Marc Miller, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, recently announced plans to implement several measures aimed at protecting genuine students from fraud.
Starting December 1, post-secondary designated learning institutions will be required to confirm every applicant’s letter of acceptance directly with IRCC.
The IRCC said that the “new, enhanced verification process aims to protect prospective students from letter‑of‑acceptance fraud and to help them avoid similar problems that some students faced earlier this year as a result of fraud investigations”.
It will also ensure that study permits are issued based only on genuine letters of acceptance, the immigration authority said.