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Agent arrested in fake admission letter case

Police in India have arrested a travel agent accused of forging visa documents for students in Canada.

Indian students in Canada face possible deportation as authorities investigate the use of fake college acceptance letters. Photo: Unsplash.

Some of the students facing deportation plan to fight their cases in court

It follows the news that Indian students in Canada face possible deportation as border services investigate the use of fake college acceptance letters in study permit applications. It is unclear how many people are impacted in total but media reports suggest anywhere from 100 to 700.

Canadian news outlet CBC reported that Rahul Bhargava, who ran a company called Education and Migration Services, has been arrested in Punjab after complaints from parents linked to the fake letters.

The police are also looking for Bhargava’s business partners, Brijesh Mishra and Gurnam Singh.

Speaking on a Vancouver-based radio station in March, Canada’s immigration minister Sean Fraser said the country had taken steps over the past years to “strengthen the integrity measures” in place to ensure acceptance letters are real.

“Every once in a while you do see bad actors”

“Every once in a while you do see bad actors, particularly from other parts of the world who are difficult to police from Canada, who seek to take advantage of international students,” Fraser said, describing this behaviour as “disgusting”.

Some of the students facing deportation reportedly plan to fight their cases in Canada’s courts, arguing they were scammed by the agent.

A spokesperson from IRCC said they could not comment on individual cases but, generally, individuals in this situation would “benefit from a procedural fairness process”.

“Individuals involved would be offered an opportunity to explain what transpired, and the officer would take that information into account when making their decision,” they said.

IRCC launched a Letter of Acceptance Verification Project in 2018 to create a centralised office for communicating with institutions to verify the authenticity of letters of acceptance.

“In processing study permit applications, if an officer has concerns or doubts about the letter of acceptance that has been submitted, it can be referred to the LoAVP for verification,” the spokesperson said.

“It is the applicant’s responsibility to show that they meet the requirements and applicants are responsible for the documents submitted with their applications,” they added.

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