Study in Canada: IRCC verification flags 1,813 letters of acceptance as ‘potentially fraudulent’

Study in Canada: IRCC mandated a verification process in December. As of January 11, over 60,000 letters of acceptance have been reviewed.

Study in Canada : IRCC has made verification mandatory for Canada study permits (Representational Image : Freepik)Study in Canada : IRCC has made verification mandatory for Canada study permits (Representational Image : Freepik)

Pritha Roy Choudhury | June 19, 2024 | 04:56 PM IST

NEW DELHI: As of January 11, 2024, a new verification system implemented by the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has found and flagged 1,813 letters of acceptance as “potentially fraudulent”, says a briefing document of the IRCC.

“An additional 1,197 letters of acceptance were flagged by DLIs as having been changed after they were issued, which while not necessarily indicating fraud or misuse, would require further review and action by the processing officer,” says the IRCC document. DLIs are “designated learning institutions” that host international students.

Canada implemented the verification system on December 1, 2023. Since January, 60,887 letters of acceptance have been submitted and reviewed.

Study permits are granted only once the letters of acceptance have been verified and confirmed to be genuine. Canada is also reviewing the postgraduate work permit for international students.

Also read Australia cracks down on visa hopping by international students

International Student Visa Canada: New checks

The new visa policy requires learning institutions – universities – to confirm every letter of acceptance with the IRCC before a study permit can be issued.

“In response to concerns about fraud in the international student program, as of December 1, 2023, post-secondary DLIs are now required to confirm every applicant’s letter of acceptance directly with IRCC. This new, enhanced verification process aims to protect prospective students from letter of acceptance fraud and to help them avoid similar problems that some students faced earlier this year as a result of fraud investigations. It will also ensure that study permits are issued based only on genuine letters of acceptance,” says the IRCC document.

The largest contingent of international students in Canada - 40% – is Indian. In May, 2023, 700 Indian students faced deportation on charges of obtaining visas by using fake admission letters.

An investigation then uncovered that a study abroad consultant based in Jalandhar had been submitting deceptive Canada study visa applications and that they had been doing it for four years.

Study in Canada: Recognising institutions

Canada is currently in the process of developing a Recognised Institutions Framework (RIF). Originally planned for implementation in the fall 2024 academic semester, it is now set for launch in 2025.

Also read ‘Can’t continue at Harvard’: SC, OBC students hit as Maharashtra makes 75% must for study abroad scholarships

“The goal of the RIF is to incentivize DLIs to meet a higher standard in terms of international student recruitment, international student support (including housing), and post-graduate outcomes,” says the document.

Under the framework, the institutions will be categorised into tiers according to their performance. Those that do not meet the eligibility criteria during the pilot year will have to adhere to regular processing timelines for Canada study visa.


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