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Hundreds of Indian overseas students say they have been tricked by unscrupulous education counsellors into joining fake and sub-standard universities in Canada.

More than 700 college students from India are currently facing deportation from Canada after their college acceptance letters — which were used to apply for Canadian study visas almost four years ago — were found to be fake.

The Canadian government has put the students’ deportations on hold for the moment after New Delhi raised the issue with Ottawa. 

However, many of the students say they are being victimized for fraud committed by visa agents and education counsellors.

Risk of deportation, students protest

The issue first came to light in March after several students in Canada applied for permanent residency after completing their studies and the Canadian border agency discovered that their documents were fake.

“This is not our fault at all. Look at the hardships we students have faced,” Randhir Kapoor, a student in Toronto, told DW.

“If there are now investigations into cases of misrepresentation, including those related to study permits, why was it not checked then … why now?”

Lucrative business for education agents

Teaching experts are putting the blame on so-called education counsellors who come to India every year in an effort to lure students abroad — for a hefty fee.

The counsellors are often linked to substandard institutions, and not all of their clients are looking for an education.

“Many of them are looking for migration pathway,” media educator Rakesh Batabyal told DW. “There is no due diligence on either side as education is a profitable business.”

Student visas accounted for the largest proportion of migration to the UK with 486,000 issued last year.

There is an urgent need to connect students who leave India for an overseas education with Indian missions in their host nations, according to Swaran Singh, professor of international studies at New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University, who pointed out that many students who travel abroad are unaware that their visa applications may have breached immigration regulations.

As part of their investigation into the fradulent college admissions, Indian authorities have so far arrested a travel agent from Punjab who is accused of forging dozens of international students’ documents.

Edited by: Keith Walker Reference: https://www.dw.com/



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