Immigration fraud: Canada to strengthen verification norms of international students' admissions

Representational Image. Photo: Shutterstock/ AlexLMX

Ottawa: Canada will step up the verification of university acceptance letters as it seeks to prevent immigration by fraudsters who target international students, Immigration Minister Marc Miller said on Friday.

Canada is a popular destination for international students since it is relatively easy to obtain a work permit, but the student immigration system is rife with fraud and "perverse incentives," Miller told reporters in Brampton, Ontario.

Earlier this year, the issue of fraudulent admission letters came to the forefront when dozens of foreign students received deportation letters alleging the use of forged documents to enter Canada. Miller said from December post-secondary education institutions will be required to confirm every applicant's letter of acceptance directly with Canadian immigration authorities.

Canada also plans to implement a framework of "recognized institutions" in autumn 2024 that will identify institutions whose international students are going to benefit from better services, housing, and other supports.

Such institutions could benefit from faster student permit application processing, Miller said, adding that more details will be shared next year. "What we are seeing in the ecosystem is (a business model) ... that has been chasing after short-term gain without looking at the long-term pain, and we need to reverse that trend," Miller said.

Canada depends on immigration to drive its economy and support an aging population, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been ramping up annual immigration. International education accounts for more than C$22 billion ($15.9 billion) in economic activity annually and supports more than 200,000 jobs in Canada, the government says.

Official data show there were more than 800,000 foreign students with active visas in Canada in 2022, and some 900,000 are expected to arrive in 2023. ($1 = 1.3869 Canadian dollars)

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