Charges filed in scam that affected 700 Indian international students

Posted on Jul 22, 2023 at 08:00 am EDT

Indian students working on a group project

The Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) has filed charges against Brijesh Mishra for his involvement in the fraud of 700 international students from India.

The June 23 statement states that Mishra was charged with the following:

  • IRPA Section 91(1) Unauthorized representation or advice for consideration: one charge
  • IRPA Section 126 Counseling Misrepresentation – one charge
  • IRPA Section 127(a) Misrepresentation (direct or indirect falsification) – one charge
  • IRPA Section 127(b) Misrepresentation (Communication of False Information) – one charge
  • IRPA Section 124(1)(a) Breach of Law – one charge

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The charges stem from the discovery that 700 Indian students had received bogus admission letters from Canadian educational institutions. CBSA officials discovered the fraud after the students, many of whom had arrived in 2018-2019 and had already completed their studies and gained Canadian work experience, applied for permanent residence in Canada.

All the students had applied for study visas through Education Migration Services, which was located in Jalandhar, India. Mishra, the head of the firm, charged students thousands of dollars related to university admissions and visa applications. Since then, the company’s office has closed and Mishra was nowhere to be found until recently.

Following his arrest, it was discovered that Mishra had been living illegally in Surrey, British Columbia, after having his visa revoked in 2019 for “ghost consulting.” The Toronto Star reports that two co-directors of the company have also been arrested and denied bail in India.

IRCC Anti-Fraud Task Force

The announcement that Mishra had been charged came just days after Immigration Minister Sean Fraser announced a special task force to investigate each affected student and decide on a case-by-case basis whether they had been the victims of fraud.

Fraser said this will give each student a chance to show if they knew about the fraudulent letters. Students who knowingly broke the rules will be subject to consequences, including expulsion.

Those deemed unaware of the fraud will not be deported and will instead be issued a temporary residence permit so they can remain in Canada.

Going forward, Canada Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (IRCC) will work with Designated Learning Institutions (DLI), provinces and territories, and organizations representing Canada’s colleges and universities abroad to help detect fraud.

Avoid fraud as an international student

International students are often the victims of fraud by people looking to take advantage of them at a vulnerable time.

In this case, the students were victims of a “ghost consultant.” These are unlicensed immigration representatives who pose as legitimate and offer services to international students, such as helping with admission to an educational institution or helping with the visa application. Once the students pay a (usually very high) fee, the consultant cuts off all communication and disappears with the money.

Other common scams include phishing, fake job offers, and housing scams. They may not always be easy to detect, but students can protect themselves by being very cautious about who they give personal information to and never respond to unsolicited or suspicious phone calls, emails, or text messages asking for financial information or money.

It can also help to remember that if something seems too good to be true, like a job offer or finding housing, it’s probably a scam. Spend as much time as possible checking out any potential immigration consultants, employers, or landlords.

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