Canada unveils new measures to combat student visa fraud
Canada is implementing a new verification process to combat student visa fraud, similar to the incident that occurred in June this year, involving 700 Indian students. Canada has not imposed a limit on the number of international students.
On October 27, Canada’s Immigration Minister Marc Miller announced a set of initiatives designed to enhance the International Student Program and provide increased safeguards for legitimate students against fraudulent activities.
Starting December 1, 2023, post-secondary designated learning institutions (DLIs) will be required to verify the acceptance letters of all applicants with Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). This enhanced verification process aims to protect prospective students from fraudulent acceptance letters and prevent issues similar to those experienced by some students earlier this year due to fraud investigations. It will also ensure that study permits are only issued to applicants with genuine acceptance letters.
By the fall semester of 2024, IRCC will implement a “recognized institution” framework specifically aimed at benefiting post-secondary DLIs that excel in providing exceptional services, support, and outcomes for international students. These designated learning institutions (DLIs) will receive special treatment, including expedited processing of study permit applications for students intending to enroll in their programs.
In the coming months, IRCC will conduct an evaluation of the criteria for the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program. Reforms will be introduced to better align the program with the requirements of the Canadian job market, as well as regional and Francophone immigration objectives.
These changes aim to protect genuine students from fraudulent activities and prioritise institutions that support international students.
Miller emphasizes the importance of enhancing the International Student Program to safeguard students and combat exploitation.
“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,” the minister said.
In June, an IRCC task force was created to address fraudulent admission letters, working with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). Their goal was to prevent legitimate students from facing deportation. As of October 12, 2023, out of 103 reviewed cases, 63 were confirmed as genuine students, while 40 were not. The task force is aware of more cases awaiting review pending decisions from the Immigration and Refugee Board.