On March 30 the International Youth Student Organization (IYSO) called an emergency rally to draw attention to their situation, as they are threatened with deportation after being victimized by fraud. At least 80 people joined the protest in front of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada.
Two weeks prior, the Canadian government threatened 700 international students with deportation for contravening the immigration laws when they unknowingly signed bogus college admission letters. These students were deliberately deceived, and should not be further punished with deportation.
As Sarom Rho, organizer with Migrant Students United (MSU), explained, “International students are the ones being punished for reasons that are totally out of their control.”
Many students were duped by education agents in India, who did not sign the admission letters for their clients as required. They didn’t let them know the significance of what that would mean. Now, after studying for years in Canada and then applying for permanent resident status, they are being denied and threatened with deportation.
Bad actors, including the Canadian government
Canada’s Immigration Minister Sean Fraser was quick to blame other countries: “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. It’s disgusting to see the behaviour of some of the promoters around the world.”
The education agents outside Canada are responsible for fleecing these students and their families and making false promises. But it is the Canadian government that is threatening them with deportation – sabotaging all the studies and hard work these young adults have sacrificed everything for, and pulling the rug out from under the hopes, dreams and lives of young people.
And this is not the only disgusting behaviour. Governments on both sides of the ocean, Canadian colleges and universities, and our immigration system are in collusion to lure international students and require them to pay at least four times the regular school tuition fees.
If this wasn’t already a big enough scam, they had to figure out a way for these students to pay even more by killing dreams on a technicality and then punish the victims themselves with deportation. This is not the first time this has happened, in 2019 international student Jobandeep Singh Sandu was deported for ‘working too hard’ when he exceeded the arbitrary 20-hour work week. There was a mass solidarity campaign, and while this didn’t prevent his deportation it did lead to the launch of Migrant Students United – to fight for other international students.
Growth of international students
Over the span of the last decade, the increase of international students coming into Canada has made it one of fastest growing western countries accepting international students. According to the Canadian Bureau for International Education, the number of international students coming to Canada in the ten years increased by 170 percent. In comparison, postsecondary international students in the US declined by 23 percent between 2016 and 2019. India is the top source for international students to Canadian colleges and universities, followed by China and the Philippines.
Over the past decade the large influx of international students has contributed roughly $22 billion to the Canadian economy. The increase of international students coming to countries like Canada did not come out of nowhere: international students are enticed to Canada because of the growing political issues within their home countries and the hopes to have better opportunities that so-called Canada has in store.
What makes the International Student pathway different from the pathways such as Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) program and Live-in Caregiver Program (LCP) is it does not require completion of the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) which makes it more appealing to employers and ideal to students as a pathway to emigrate and settle in Canada.
Solidarity and justice
Student organizations including International Youth Students Organization and Montreal Youth Student Organization, along with grassroots organizations like Anakbayan Canada, Naujawan Support Network, Migrant Students United in front of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada on March 30 to confront the threat of deportation.
Some of them shared their personal stories of coming to Canada, filled with hopes. They applied for a visa through an agent and later on, they found out that the offer letters they received were fake. The students are seeking justice as they are double victims, both by the consultant through fraudulent documents, and also through the unjust policies of the Canadian government.
The protest also drew attention to the wider issue of exploitation and mistreatment that international students experience, including issues like wage theft, discrimination, and poor living conditions. Demonstrators called for these issues to be addressed and for greater protections to be put in place for international students, so they are not treated as cheap labour and an additional revenue for colleges and universities.
Arin Goswami from Naujawan Support Network, emphasized, “If anybody pays the price for this, it will be students like them who are going back to India—for no fault of theirs.”
Join the Brampton Rally to Stop the Deportation of 700 International Students: Saturday April 15, 1:30pm.
Did you like this article? Help us produce more like it by donating $1, $2, or $5. Donate