Canada pauses evictions of Indian students – Times Higher Education

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The Canadian government has put a hold on the deportation of more than 700 Indian students who entered the country on fake admission offers, following a petition from Indian policymakers.
This March, Canadian border services warned the students they could face removal from the country. But recent interventions by an Indian MP and the Indian High Commission have led Canada to announce a temporary freeze on any action, Reuters reported.
A popular destination country for students from the subcontinent, Canada hosts 320,000 Indians among its total 800,000-strong overseas student population. Indian students commonly rely on immigration agents to help with visa paperwork.
Back in March, some of the affected students told reporters they were duped by agencies and had no knowledge they were living abroad on forged documents. Many of the students have lived in the country for years, having finished their degrees and sought permanent residency, according to the BBC.
The case echoes a similar instance in 2019, when 129 Indian students in the US were arrested for enrolling in a fake university set up by undercover immigration agents to detect fraud.
Indian students are the second-largest overseas cohort, after Chinese students, in both the US and UK, and the largest group in Canada. For many, an overseas education helps secure a decent job; families take out loans and save for years to pay for students’ education abroad.   
Such students are especially vulnerable to global events and immigration issues, which can ruin their plans of completing an education overseas.
Last year, the outbreak of war in Ukraine prompted attention to the plight of Indian medical students there, hundreds of whom returned home only to enter a state of limbo, with their coursework not recognised in India – and no intention of returning to Ukraine during an ongoing war.
But more mundane legal problems can also cause students’ dreams of overseas education and post-study work plans to collapse.
Shahid Jameel, a professor at the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies and former chief executive of the Wellcome Trust DBT India Alliance, had some sympathy for students who are tricked by “dubious, slick-talking ‘agents’”.
“This isn’t the first time and is unlikely to be the last. The core issue is desire for an overseas degree among Indians, with the notion – not unfounded – that it leads to better employment prospects at home. Parental and societal pressure also plays a significant role,” he said.
Still, he said that in other cases, students knowingly enter into dubious deals in exchange for an easy route abroad, such as handing over large sums of money to agents in exchange for a university acceptance letter or paying a “‘donation’ to substandard colleges in India” to receive a professional engineering or medical degree.
He believed it was applicants’ responsibility to get information from trusted sources.
“Every major Indian university has a career counselling and guidance office, which can be approached for advice. Students are usually aware of forged documents and cannot feign ignorance,” he said.
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