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Canada: Why are 1000s of Indian Students Running Protests?

Canada has long been a popular destination for international students seeking quality education and promising career opportunities.

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Read about the recent protests by Indian students in Canada who are facing deportation due to changes in immigration policies. Discover the reasons behind the protests and the impact it has on the affected students.

In recent months, a wave of protests has swept across Canadian cities as Indian students, enrolled in various educational institutions, have taken to the streets to voice their concerns and oppose the looming threat of deportation. This grassroots movement has gained significant attention both in Canada and internationally, highlighting the plight of these students and the urgent need for a fair resolution. In this post, we will delve into the details surrounding the protests, shedding light on the reasons behind the students’ struggle and the broader implications of immigration policies.

Canada

Background:

Canada has long been a popular destination for international students seeking quality education and promising career opportunities. Over the years, Indian students have accounted for a significant proportion of the international student population in Canada, contributing to the cultural diversity and economic growth of the country. However, recent policy changes and enforcement measures have created an atmosphere of uncertainty and fear among Indian students.

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The Scam:

Students had applied for admission to various colleges and universities in Canada through an agent based in Jalandhar, Punjab, named Brijesh Mishra. Mishra allegedly provided them with fake offer letters from educational institutions that either did not exist or did not have their information. He also charged them hefty fees for his services.

The scam came to light when some of the students who had completed their studies and were working on post-graduation work permits applied for permanent residency in Canada. They were then summoned by CBSA and informed that their admission offers were invalid and that they had to leave the country within 30 days.

The students claim that they were unaware of the fraud and that they had paid their tuition fees and taxes honestly. They also say that they have invested their time, money, and efforts in pursuing their education and career in Canada and that they do not deserve to be punished for the agent’s wrongdoing.

Reasons for the Protests:

Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) Program: One of the key factors driving the protests is the impact of changes made to the Post-Graduation Work Permit program. The PGWP allows international students to work in Canada for a period of time after completing their studies, providing them with valuable Canadian work experience. However, recent policy changes have led to confusion and disparities, leaving many Indian students at risk of losing their eligibility for work permit.

“Double Punishment” Policy: Another major concern voiced by the protesting students is the introduction of the “double punishment” policy. Under this policy, students who violate the terms of their study permit, even unintentionally, face a two-year ban from studying in Canada. This punitive approach is seen as overly harsh, disproportionately affecting Indian students who may unknowingly commit minor violations due to complex bureaucratic processes or lack of guidance.

Communication and Transparency Issues: Many Indian students have expressed frustration over the lack of clear communication and transparency from Canadian immigration authorities. Students argue that policy changes and updates are often introduced without adequate notification or guidance, making it difficult for them to navigate the complex immigration system and ensure compliance.

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Impact and Future Concerns:

The protests by Indian students in Canada have brought attention to the broader implications of the deportation threat and the potential consequences for both individuals and the Canadian economy. If these concerns remain unaddressed, it could have detrimental effects on the country’s reputation as a preferred destination for international students. Moreover, the negative impact on the mental health and well-being of the affected students cannot be overlooked, as uncertainty about their future in Canada hangs over them.

Calls for Resolution:

The protesting students and their supporters have been calling for several measures to address their grievances and create a fairer environment for international students in Canada:

Clarity in Policy: Students are demanding clear, consistent, and easily accessible information regarding immigration policies, allowing them to make informed decisions and comply with the rules effectively.

Flexibility and Fairness: The double punishment policy is viewed as disproportionately punitive. The students are advocating for a more flexible and fair approach that takes into account the circumstances surrounding minor violations and allows for a more reasonable resolution.

Consultation and Student Representation: Students are urging Canadian authorities to engage in meaningful consultations with student representatives, immigrant advocacy groups, and educational institutions to better understand the challenges faced by international students and to develop policies that address their needs.

Streamlined Application Processes: Simplifying the application and renewal processes for study permits, work permits, and visas would go a long way in reducing administrative burdens and potential pitfalls that can inadvertently lead to non-compliance.

The students have appealed to the Canadian immigration minister Sean Fraser, who has assured them that he will look into the matter. They have also sought help from the Indian government and the Punjab NRI affairs minister Kuldip Singh Dhaliwal, who has written to external affairs minister S Jaishankar.

The students say that they are not asking for any special favour or leniency, but only for a fair chance to prove their innocence and continue their lives in Canada. They say that they are willing to cooperate with any investigation and provide any evidence required. They also say that they are proud of their Indian heritage and culture and that they respect the laws and values of Canada.

Conclusion:

The protests by Indian students in Canada against the deportation threat are a reflection of the frustration and anxiety faced by many international students. It is essential for Canadian authorities to address their concerns in a timely and empathetic manner, ensuring that the policies in place are fair, transparent, and supportive of their academic and career aspirations. By doing so, Canada can reinforce its commitment to welcoming international students and continue to benefit from the valuable contributions they make to its society and economy.

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