Nearly a third of foreign student-visa holders in Canada are believed to not be enrolled in a Canadian school, according to a new report from Statistics Canada.
The StatsCan study, which was conducted by Marc Fenette, Yuquian Lu and Winnie Chan, found that 30.5% of student-visa holders were not attending a Canadian post-secondary school.
Those circumventing the enrollment requirements are believed to be working in order to gain permanent residence status.
Over the last four years, student visas have grown by 73%. In 2018, there were 573,000 student visa-holders in Canada, while there were also 5,502 student visas revoked because the individual failed to maintain the visa requirements.
This isn’t a new trend. In 2009, only half of all foreign students were believed to be attending post-secondary school despite being in Canada on a study permit.
According to a separate report by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, nearly 10% of international students are suspected to not be meeting their student visa requirements.
Officials from the immigration department have begun checking school acceptance letters for international students. In doing so, they have found that nearly 12% were fraudulent.
The student visa rejection rate has also increased from 28% in 2014, to a high of 39% this year.
In 2017, Canada was ranked sixth in the world in the number of international students admitted, with a total of 312,100 new visas issued.
“Some work full-time in contravention of the terms of their study permit, which limits them to working no more than 20 hours a week when school is in session, plus full-time during scheduled school vacations,” Vancouver immigration lawyer Sam Hyman told the Vancouver Sun.
A Globe and Mail investigation found that crooked immigration consultants were collaborating with trucking companies to funnel international students into Canadian jobs. The trucking companies were given cash payments to write recommendation letters to help expedite permanent residency for the fake students.
In one instance, a recording revealed how a consultant told students they would have to pay between $35,000 to $55,000 in order to get a job.
Many of the international students who are sent out to work as truck drivers have no experience driving on icy Canadian winter roads. This has led to a number of tragic and deadly road accidents.
A True North report found flaws in the English exam certification program allowed fraudsters to sell doctored certificates, making it even easier to get to Canada.
A respected Toronto immigration lawyer explained to True North how fake students come to Canada on student visas but end up driving transport trucks, or worse.
“They all went to work illegally, working 60-80 hours as truck drivers. You need drugs to stay awake for that long as a truck driver. But eventually, if you’re taking drugs, you’re useless as a truck driver. Then these undocumented people become unemployed and turn to crime. That’s why there is so much crime in places like Brampton,” said immigration lawyer Richard Boraks.