Canada announced new parameters to protect international students from visa fraud
Ottawa, Canada, October 28, 2023: To tackle the challenges within the International Student Program, Marc Miller, Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship announced several key measures to safeguard the program’s Integrity and the well-being of genuine students.
“International students are talented, bright and deserving of a positive experience as they pursue their studies in Canada. We will continue to improve Canada’s International Student Program by protecting students and weeding out those who try to take advantage of them. Whether an international student stays and works after graduation or returns home, we want their time as a student in Canada to have been beneficial to their growth and aspirations,” Miller said in a statement.
Effective from December 1, 2023, post-secondary designated learning institutions (DLIs) will have a new obligation to verify every applicant’s letter of acceptance directly with the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
This enhanced verification process will shield potential students from fraudulent acceptance letters, preventing incidents like those witnessed earlier this year due to fraud investigations. It aims to ensure that study permits are only granted based on authentic letters of acceptance.
Furthermore, by the fall semester of 2024, the IRCC will implement a “recognized institution” framework to benefit post-secondary DLIs that uphold higher standards of service, support, and outcomes for international students. These institutions will enjoy perks such as priority processing of study permits for their prospective students.
In the forthcoming months, the IRCC will conduct a comprehensive assessment of the criteria for the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program. This evaluation will lead to reforms that align the program more effectively with the Canadian labor market’s demands and the country’s regional and Francophone immigration objectives.
The Introduced parameters aim to combat unscrupulous individuals who exploit genuine students for financial gain by swiftly identifying fraudulent acceptance letters.
Additionally, institutions demonstrating strong support for international students will receive recognition, leading to faster processing of their applicants. These reforms enable Canada to select and retain students who best align with the nation’s economic and immigration goals.
These parameters represent the initial changes stemming from the review of the International Student Program and the broader engagement initiative, “An Immigration System for Canada’s Future.” Collaborative efforts with institutions, provinces, territories, and organizations representing Canada’s educational institutions will continue, reinforcing the detection of fraud and upholding the integrity of Canada’s immigration programs, the IRCC added.
In June, in response to investigations concerning fraudulent admission letters, an IRCC taskforce collaborated with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to review cases involving affected students and graduates. The primary objective of this collaboration was to protect genuine students from the risk of deportation.
By October 12, 2023, the taskforce had examined 103 cases. Out of these, 63 were confirmed as genuine students, while 40 were not. The Genuine Students Impacted by Fraud Taskforce is aware of additional cases awaiting review, as individuals are still in the process of receiving decisions from the Immigration and Refugee Board. If exclusion orders are issued in these cases, the taskforce remains prepared to assess them in the future.
On June 23, 2023, the CBSA announced the laying of charges against Brijesh Mishra for immigration-related offenses. Mr. Mishra was identified by victims as a central figure involved in defrauding students.