Travel agent arrested by Jalandhar police in connection with Canada students crisis



Jalandhar police in Punjab have arrested a travel agent, Rahul Bhargava, in connection with the deportation and fraud incidents targeting Indian students in Canada. Bhargava has been accused of forging the student visa documents of dozens of international students who are currently facing removal orders from Canada due to misrepresentation in their applications.

A large number of Indian students in Canada are facing deportation as a result of alleged fraud committed by the education agent they worked with. On 31 March 2023, the CBC’s investigative journalism arm, The Fifth Estate, highlighted the damaging impact that dishonest education agents have on international students and their families.

In 2019, 24-year-old Karanveer Singh from Pilibhit, Uttar Pradesh, India, received a letter of acceptance for the business administration program at Loyalist College, a public college in Belleville, Ont. That letter was then used to obtain a student visa and his entry into Canada. Singh dreamt of building a better life for himself while sending money back home to support his physically disabled father, who sold his farmland and spent his life savings to pay $25,000 for his son’s education.

His dream has come crashing back to earth as he is one of the dozens of international students from India who could soon be sent back there, accused of using forged documents to get into Canada. Singh said he didn’t do anything wrong and was unaware that his immigration agent in India used those papers for his student visa application. “I didn’t know that a fake document was used in my student visa application,” Singh told The Fifth Estate in an interview. “It wasn’t until after I received that notice from the Canada Border Services Agency that I realized that the letter was fraudulent.”

A spokesperson for the Police Commissionerate at Jalandhar, Punjab, said that Bhargava of the firm Education and Migration Services was arrested and the hunt is on for two other accused in the case – Brijesh Mishra and Gurnam Singh. They all face numerous charges after police complaints were registered against the firm and the trio by the parents of the duped students.

Bhargava was running Education Migration Services with Mishra. After receiving complaints against Mishra, the police registered two FIRs against him and his partners. Commissioner of Police Kuldeep Chahal said Bhargava was arrested on March 24.

A large number of students from Punjab have accused Mishra of providing them with fake offer letters. The students had moved to Canada between 2017 and 2019, and when they submitted their documents for the PR (permanent resident) process, the Canada Border Service Agency issued them deportation notices citing the offer letters as fake. The district administration, meanwhile, has canceled the license of the immigration firm.

One of the parents, Baldev Raj from Nakodar, Jalandhar, told The Fifth Estate that in addition to preparing a fake acceptance letter from Sheridan College without their knowledge, the agent, Brijesh Mishra, cheated him out of $14,000, which was supposed to cover two semesters of tuition at the Ontario college for his daughter.

He said when his daughter reached Canada, Mishra told her not to go to Sheridan until further notice. They waited for two weeks, but there was no response from Mishra, and when they tried to contact him, he never returned their calls.


[Photo Caption: Dozens of international students protest outside the Immigration and Refugee Board office in Toronto on Thursday as they fight to stay in Canada. (Pic: Courtesy CBC)]

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