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Canada Implements New Measures to Safeguard International Students from Fraud

March 13, 2024by admin

Canada has long been a preferred destination for international students, offering high-quality educational institutions, an inclusive society, and post-graduation opportunities. However, recent incidents of student visa fraud and fake university letters have raised concerns about the integrity of the International Student Program. In response to these challenges, the Canadian government has announced new measures to protect international students and ensure the program’s integrity. These measures aim to safeguard genuine students and prevent fraudulent activities that exploit them for financial gain. This comprehensive guide will provide an overview of the recent changes in the verification process and their significance in safeguarding international students from fraud.

1. Background: Challenges Faced by International Students

1.1 Student Visa Fraud

Unscrupulous individuals were known to provide fraudulent documents to international students seeking admission and student visas in Canada. These include fake acceptance letters from non-existent universities and colleges, forged transcripts, and fabricated proof of funds. Students relying on such documents often ended up being denied a study permit or deported if the fraud was discovered.

1.2 Fake University Letters

In some cases, fake universities and colleges were set up solely to provide forged acceptance letters to international applicants for a fee. Notable instances include non-existent institutions with names resembling authentic Canadian universities. Students were left in the lurch once they arrived in Canada and discovered the letter was fraudulent.

1.3 Impact on Indian Students

A majority of the students impacted were from India, which remains one of the top sources of international students in Canada. Fake acceptance letters dented the reputation of Canadian education and placed genuine students seeking higher education in danger of immigration non-compliance.


2. Introduction to the New Measures

Recognizing the urgent need to address challenges faced by international students, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), Marc Miller, announced new measures on October 10, 2023.

2.1 Announcement by Marc Miller

Miller said Canada is committed to protecting the integrity of its international education system and shielding students from exploitation through visa and admission scams.

2.2 Objective: Protecting Students and Safeguarding Program Integrity

The objective of the new measures is to enhance verification of acceptance letters, recognize institutions upholding high standards of compliance and protect students.

2.3 Implementation Timeline: December 1, 2023, and Fall Semester 2024

Key aspects of the measures will be implemented in two phases – by December 1, 2023 and beginning the 2024 fall semester intake.

3. Enhanced Verification Process for Post-Secondary Designated Learning Institutions (DLIs)

Canada will mandate stronger verification checks for all post-secondary DLIs – universities, colleges and vocational training institutions.

3.1 Obligation to Verify Letter of Acceptance

DLIs will have to directly contact IRCC’s International Student Program (ISP) division to verify if a provided acceptance letter is authentic before a study permit is issued.

3.2 Direct Verification with IRCC

This replaces reliance on documentary proof alone and directly connects DLIs with IRCC for swift authentication of acceptance documents.

3.3 Shielding Students from Fraudulent Acceptance Letters

Timely verification will prevent the issuing of permits based on fake acceptance letters, sparing students immigration troubles.

3.4 Prevention of Incidents Witnessed Due to Fraud Investigations

Stricter verification aims to curb instances uncovered through probes into admission documentation scams.

3.5 Ensuring Study Permits are Based on Authentic Letters of Acceptance

Direct confirmation will validate letters before permits are granted rather than during compliance checks afterwards.


4. Recognized Institution Framework for Post-Secondary DLIs

A ‘Recognized Institution’ recognition framework will be launched to strengthen integrity assurance further.

4.1 Introduction of the “Recognized Institution” Framework

It aims to credential institutions demonstrating high standards of international student support and outcomes.

4.2 Higher Standards of Service, Support, and Outcomes

Recognized DLIs must meet metrics relating to compliance, graduate employment rates, and care provided to foreign nationals.

4.3 Benefits for Institutions Upholding Higher Standards

They will enjoy incentives like expedited processing of student permits and reduced documentation requirements.

4.4 Priority Processing of Study Permits for Prospective Students

This helps attract reputed international enrollment and safeguards students’ immigration status.


5. Comprehensive Assessment of the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program

Canada will undertake a sweeping review of its Post-Graduation Work Permit Program for international graduates.

5.1 Evaluation of Criteria

Eligibility rules determining the issuance of post-study work visas will be rigorously examined.

5.2 Alignment with Canadian Labor Market and Immigration Objectives

Criteria will be optimized to attract talent fulfilling domestic job market needs and supporting long-term immigration goals.

5.3 Reforms to Enhance the Program’s Effectiveness

Adjustments will strengthen the program’s ability to retain skilled professionals as permanent residents.

5.4 Economic and Immigration Contributions of International Students

Refinements focus on maximizing students’ contribution through employment and permanent integration.


6. Significance of the Measures

The suite of measures promises a significant impact.

6.1 Addressing Challenges to the Integrity of the International Student Program

Direct verification and institution recognition address document and program integrity issues faced.

6.2 Swift Identification of Fraudulent Acceptance Letters

Real-time authentication of letters will prevent the issuing of permits based on fake documents.

6.3 Recognition of Institutions Supporting International Students

Rewards DLIs upholding high compliance and care standards for foreign student communities.

6.4 Selection and Retention of Students Aligning with Economic and Immigration Goals

Reforms strengthen program effectiveness for attracting and retaining skilled talent.


7. Collaborative Efforts and Continued Engagement

Successful implementation will require coordination.

7.1 Collaboration with Institutions, Provinces, Territories, and Educational Organizations

Roll-out will entail working closely with all education stakeholders.

7.2 Reinforcing Fraud Detection and Upholding the Integrity of Immigration Programs

Cooperation with enforcement agencies will fortify program protection measures.


8. Economic Impact of International Education in Canada

The foreign student contribution is substantial.

8.1 Contribution to the Canadian Economy

As per government data, international education was worth $21.6 billion to Canada in 2020.

8.2 Job Creation and Sustainability

In 2020, around 171,000 jobs were directly and indirectly supported by international learners.

8.3 Losses Incurred Due to Decline in International Student Numbers

The pandemic saw a 32% plunge in foreign enrollments, straining several regional economies.


9. Collaboration with Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and Legal Consequences

Close coordination with enforcement arms will be instrumental.

9.1 Collaboration to Review Cases of Fraudulent Admission Letters

Referral of detected fraud instances to CBSA for assessment of fines or charges.

9.2 Protection of Genuine Students from Deportation

Preventing removal of compliant students tricked by unscrupulous elements.

9.3 Laying of Charges Against Individuals Involved in Fraudulent Activities

Pursuit of legal action in immigration courts against fraudulent operatives.

9.4 Pursuing Unscrupulous Individuals and Ensuring Legal Consequences

The deterrent effect of penalties on those endangering students’ well-being and the program.


Final Thoughts

The recent measures announced by Canada to protect international students from fraud demonstrate the government’s commitment to maintaining the integrity of the International Student Program. However, The enhanced verification process, the introduction of the “Recognized Institution” framework, and the comprehensive assessment of the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program aim to safeguard genuine students, prevent fraudulent activities, and align the program with the Canadian labour market’s demands and immigration objectives. These measures protect international students and contribute significantly to Canada’s economy and cultural diversity. By continuing collaborative efforts and reinforcing fraud detection, Canada strives to provide a positive and beneficial experience for international students pursuing their studies in the country.

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Cliftons Study Abroad
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Metro Pillar No 528, Palarivattom
Kochi, Kerala - 682025
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71-75 Shelton Street,
Covent Garden,
London, United Kingdom,
OUR LOCATIONSWhere to find us
GET IN TOUCH Social Links
Like and follow us on our Social links to know us better

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