A total of 7,528 study permit applications from India were rejected by the Canadian authorities between January 2018 to May 2023 over misrepresentation, involving false or altered documents, according to an Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) data.
Beginning this year, a total of 595 of these applications by Indian students, which also included extensions, were refused till May 31, with 195 cases of misrepresentation detected in a single month, the data shared with IANS said.
Misrepresentation involves giving information that is untrue, misleading, or incomplete, which can make an applicant inadmissible to the country for five years, or permanent removal from the country.
Consequently, the applicant is ineligible for permanent residency and has a permanent record noting fraud in their immigration file.
“The Government of Canada takes any kind of citizenship or immigration fraud seriously… We are committed to upholding the integrity of our immigration programmes and protecting our systems against fraud and misrepresentation,” a spokesperson from the High Commission of Canada in New Delhi told IANS.
“IRCC employees receive training on how to detect and combat fraud, and they work hard to protect the integrity of Canada’s citizenship and immigration system,” the spokesperson added.
Most applications were refused under A40(1)(a), according to the data. In Canadian Immigration law, misrepresentation is defined in section 40(1)(a) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
Examples of misrepresentation include not mentioning a family member; not mentioning a change in family status; or providing a false document declaring employment experience, among others.
Recently, hundreds of Indian students faced removal from Canada after letters of acceptance submitted as part of their study permit application were determined to be fraudulent.
Acknowledging the contribution of international students, Canada’s Immigration Minister Sean Fraser announced that the genuine students would be issued a Temporary Resident Permit.
The minister stressed that the focus is on identifying those who are responsible for the fraudulent activity and not on penalising those who may have been affected by fraud.
The Canadian High Commission also told IANS that the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and the Citizenship Act require that people who provide paid immigration or citizenship advice or representation be “authorised”.
“It is an offence for anyone other than: a member in good standing (lawyer or paralegal) of a Canadian law society; the Chambre des notaires du Québec; or the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants to represent or advise for a fee at any stage of an application or proceeding,” the spokesperson from the High Commission said.
With 226,450 students, India became the top source of new international students entering the North American nation in 2022, according to an IRCC data released this year.
The country’s primary department for immigration-related matters also announced last year that Indian citizens make up 35 per cent of study permit holders in Canada.
Home to the largest Punjabi diaspora in the world, Canada is the most preferred destination for students in Punjab, who roughly make up about 70 per cent of the Indian cohort in Canada.
A Canadian study visa offers these students easy passage to permanent residence within five to six years.