July 24, 2017 – Indian newspapers are running ads shamelessly requesting brides for fraud marriages to exploit Canada’s international student visa system.
Families are requesting young women, with the required qualifications to come to Canada as international students, to marry their sons. The sons then qualify for a spousal visa as part of the application. In most cases, the son’s family offers to cover all the education expenses of the bride.
The arrangement can last for years, until the son is able to achieve permanent resident status and eventually citizenship off the back of time spent working in Canada.
It shows the lengths families are prepared to go to give their sons the opportunity of moving to a western country.
It also shows the dark side of Canada’s attempts to welcome more international students, with graduates from Canadian universities described as blue chip new permanent residents by former immigration minister John McCallum.
Making it easier for international students to get here is also making it easier for fraudsters to exploit the system.
A typical ad includes the man’s cast, religion, and age, while expressly stating the woman requires a high level of English language, without which her international student application would fail.
Recent rule tightening by the Australian government means Canada now has one of the most generous immigration systems for international students who wish to bring their families.
It means there is now a thriving industry for sham weddings where the bride facilitates the entry of the groom into Canada or other western nations.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) figures show numbers of international student study permit holders have increased dramatically in the last decade.
In 2016, more than 265,000 international student permits became active, according to IRCC figures. That number has risen steadily since 2008, when fewer than 130,000 study permits became active.
The rise in the number of Indian citizens coming to Canada on study permits is even more marked. In 2016, nearly 53,000 study permits became active for Indian students compared with 32,000 in 2015. A decade previously, in 2006, fewer than 5,000 permits became active.
Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government has put international students front and centre when it comes to immigration policy.
Canada has made changes to its immigration system that provide further incentive for students to consider coming here over other competing destination countries. Foreign students are able to work while they study in Canada.
Candidates for permanent residence are awarded 30 points for a three-year degree, master’s or PhD, and 15 points for a two-year course.
CRS Points Awarded for Canadian Education Under Canada Express Entry
|One or two-year post secondary||15|
|Three-year post secondary, master’s, professional degree or doctorate||30|
These points significantly increase the chance of an Invitation to Apply under Express Entry, when combine with other factors.
A recent snapshot of the Express Entry Pool showed thousands within a few points of the CRS cut off witnessed in recent draws. It means the 30 or 15 points for a Canadian education could make a huge difference.
With this greater incentive, there is also a greater incentive to play the system with scams including the marriage fraud prevalent in India.
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