Last Updated: June 08, 2023, 20:43 IST
Over 700 students who are facing deportation from Canada got a reprieve on Wednesday when a committee of the House of Commons passed a motion to discuss the temporary suspension of the move until witnesses can testify before it.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has expressed his government’s commitment to identifying those responsible for fraudulent activities rather than punishing the victims. He assured the parliament that victims of fraud would be given the opportunity to present their cases and provide evidence to support their situations. “The government remains fully committed to supporting the victims as they carefully evaluate each individual case,” he said.
The aggrieved students mostly from Punjab are facing deportation after their admission letters to education institutions in Canada were found to be “not genuine”. The issue came to light after the students applied for Permanent Residency in March. They are staging sit-ins at the Airport Road of Mississauga, outside the head office of the Canada Border Service Agency (CBSA).
Most of these students arrived in Canada between 2017 and 2019. The CBSA sent notices to them in 2021 and even later when the offer letters for Canadian institutions were found to be “fake”. These forged documents were issued by unscrupulous travel agents in Punjab.
Jagmeet Singh, leader of the New Democratic Party (NDP), visited the protest site to meet the students and urged Prime Minister Trudeau to halt their deportation.
Protesting students said that the motion received unanimous support, with the voting resulting in an 11-0 outcome in favour of halting the deportation of the affected students. The students are hoping that the officials will ensure accountability for systemic failure leading to such events. In Punjab, NRI affairs minister Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal said that the government will provide free legal assistance to all the affected students facing deportation in Canada.
In Delhi, external affairs minister S Jaishankar said that India has taken up the issue with Canadian authorities. “If there were people who misled them (the students), the culpable parties should be acted upon. It is unfair to punish a student who undertook education in good faith,” he said in New Delhi.