Immigration agent convicted for preparing forged docs for Indians to study in Canada – Hindustan Times

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Last year, over 150 ex-students from India, mainly Punjab, faced deportation from Canada as the documents they had used to enter the country were found to be forged

Toronto: Indian immigration agent Brijesh Mishra, allegedly behind preparing fraudulent documents for international students, has been found guilty on three of the charges levelled against him by Canadian authorities and sentenced to three years in prison.

Former students from India facing deportation during a protest in Toronto, Canada in March last year. (Supplied photo)

Mishra appeared before a British Columbia provincial court in Vancouver on Wednesday and pled guilty to the three charges while two other counts were stayed.

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In a letter sent by the Canadian government to some of the students impacted, who also appeared as witnesses in the trial, an official said that with credit for time served, he has about 19 months remaining of the sentence but could be eligible for parole prior to that. Mishra may face deportation proceedings once he serves the sentence.

Last year, over 150 ex-students from India, mainly Punjab, faced deportation from Canada as the documents they had used to enter the country were found to be forged. These students arrived in Canada between 2017 and 2019, and in rare instances, in 2020.

They started receiving notices from the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA )in 2021 and 2022, for a hearing as the agency concluded the letter of offer of admission to a Canadian higher education institution, which formed the basis of their study permits, was “fake”.

Agents in India used fraudulent documentation to procure study permits for them and they started receiving notices from immigration authorities late last year once these were detected. The majority of the affected students were represented by Mishra, then with the Jalandhar-based counselling firm Education and Migration Services Australia (EMSA).

They were reprieved in June last year as Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced a task force to examine each case on its merits and allow ex-students who had completed their courses in Canada and considered genuine to remain in the country.

Mishra was in custody since June last year, after he attempted to enter Canada and was found to be inadmissible.

Among the charges he pled guilty to was counselling or attempting to counsel misrepresentation.

Reacting to the verdict, Toronto-based immigration lawyer Sumit Sen said, “We hope our Indian students will now be able to settle in Canada and have a happy life.”

Sen, who represented one of the ex-students, added, “Our Indian students stand vindicated after a long and arduous fight in the courts.”

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    Anirudh Bhattacharya is a Toronto-based commentator on North American issues, and an author. He has also worked as a journalist in New Delhi and New York spanning print, television and digital media. He tweets as @anirudhb.

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