According to media reports, these 700 students had applied for study visas via Education Migration Services (located in Jalandhar) headed by Brijesh Mishra, who had charged more than Rs 16 lakh per student for all expenses, including admission fee to premier institute Humber College but excluding the air tickets and security deposits.
These students had gone to Canada on a study basis in 2018-19 . The fraud came to light when these students applied for permanent residency (PR) in Canada for which the ‘admission offer letters’ came under scrutiny, that is, the CBSA examined the documents based on which the visas were issued to the students and found the ‘admission offer letters’ to be fake.
Experts said most of these students had already completed their studies, got work permits and gained work experience as well. It’s only when they applied for PR, they landed in trouble.
This education fraud is one of its kind which came to the fore in Canada for the first time. Experts said that such a big fraud was a result of a large number of applicants to Canada.
A Jalandhar-based consultant, who has been sending students to Canada for the past 10 years, told The Indian Express that in such frauds multiple factors are involved – from getting forged offer letters of colleges to providing forged fee payment receipts to students for seeking visas as visas are issued only after depositing the fee to the colleges.
“In this case most of the students were provided the offer letters of such colleges where they did not study eventually after landing in Canada. They were either shifted to other colleges or asked to wait for the next semester, that is, not in the semester which was shown in the documents at the time of applying for visas,” an established consultant from Kapurthala said, adding that there is a huge rush of Indian students to Canada and such desperation of students is being capitalised by some fraudulent agents by conniving with a Canada-based private college.
A Jalandhar-based student, who is among these 700 students, on the condition of anonymity told The Indian Express that she has completed her diploma in computer science from a public college in Canada because at the time of seeking visa, she was given the offer letter of a private college but she insisted for getting admission to the public (government) college and for that her fee was returned by the agent and he facilitated her to get admission in the new college. She said the consultant told her that she can change her college after reaching Canada.
She said that there are several such cases wherein students change their college on reaching Canada after paying some commission to the agent.
Several students said that their fee was returned to them by the said agent because of which they took admission to some other colleges but they did not update the Canadian government about it. And returning the fee (by agent) made things less suspicious about the agent.
Another consultant told The Indian Express that in this case the role of those colleges which had issued the ‘admission offer letters’ must be scrutinised, that is, whether they (colleges) had actually issued them or were they forged by the agent. He also said that the involvement of such colleges cannot be ruled out as students are mostly unaware of such things.
Earlier also a few colleges in Montreal were blacklisted by the Quebec government due to high rate of admission of international students there, and students who took admission to these colleges were advised by Indian High Commission to file a complaint with the ministry of higher education, the government of Quebec. These students were then given a negative review but now they are being considered empathetically by the Canadian High Commission, said a consultant. Reports said that the students’ only option is to challenge the deportation notices in court, where proceedings could last around four years.
Police Commissioner Jalandhar Kuldeep Singh Chahal told The Indian Express that no such complaint has come to his notice at the moment.
Students said that the agent did it quite smartly as he did not sign any application. He (agent) got everything signed by the students, that is, the students were made self-applicants. So, now it is difficult to prove his (agent) involvement in this fraud. At the same time, it is also difficult to prove the students’ innocence. But the fact of the matter is that all the students are innocent, the students said.