Concerns raised over lack of security checks for international students in Canada

Canadian senator Percy Downe called for mandatory criminal background checks for study permit applicants, questioning why such checks are not obligatory before issuing student visas.

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Concerns raised over lack of security checks for international students in Canada
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Canadian senator Percy Downe has voiced concerns regarding the absence of comprehensive security checks for international students entering Canada.

The senator’s remarks come in response to the recent announcement by the federal immigration minister regarding the potential deportation of 700 foreign students who used counterfeit acceptance letters from educational institutions to enter the country.

Downe expressed concern about the lack of thorough vetting of these students before their arrival in Canada. He highlighted the gravity of the situation, pointing out that the fraudulent enrollment scheme was exposed through a public tip rather than proactive government investigation.

Link to criminal gangs
The Canada Border Services Agency has identified some of these questionable students as not being enrolled in educational institutions but were purportedly linked to criminal gangs. This alarming revelation underscores a longstanding issue where student visas have been exploited to facilitate the entry of gang members into Canada, a concern dating back to at least 2018.

“This rapid and free-wheeling admittance can have real-life impacts on Canadians,” Downe said.

In 2022, Canada witnessed a substantial surge in international student enrollment, with over 800,000 students coming to the country, marking a nearly one-third increase in just a year. This influx has been accompanied by a rise in the number of new colleges and schools, some of which appear to exploit lax admission regulations for foreign students.

Case study highlights concerns
A distressing incident reported by The Guardian about Charlottetown in Prince Edward Island in September 2021 further highlights these concerns. In one incident, a young woman was sexually assaulted by an individual in Canada who was granted a study permit by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada. The perpetrator pleaded guilty and was given a conditional discharge, allowing them to continue their studies in Canada.

Downe called for mandatory criminal background checks for study permit applicants, questioning why such checks are not obligatory before issuing student visas. He stressed the importance of implementing rigorous checks before international students arrive to ensure the safety and protection of both Canadians and newcomers.

Balancing justice, deportation
The senator advocated for the deportation of foreign nationals who commit crimes. He also highlighted the need for increased awareness within the court system, especially among judges, regarding the lack of security checks conducted on most students before their arrival in Canada.

Downe said prioritizing the safety of Canadians and those who adhere to Canadian laws during their temporary stay should be the primary concern.

Nathan Yasis

Nathan Yasis

Nathan studied information technology and secondary education in college. He dabbled in and taught creative writing and research to high school students for three years before settling in as a digital journalist.

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Nathan Yasis

Nathan Yasis

Nathan studied information technology and secondary education in college. He dabbled in and taught creative writing and research to high school students for three years before settling in as a digital journalist.

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