Studying in Canada: The Role of Fraud and Wealth in Visa Issuance

By Author: Admin | June 19, 2011

Studying in Canada

Australian universities (as well as those in Canada) have a tradition of bleeding the developing world’s best and brightest by luring them to study in these economically developed nations.  Historically, many of the foreign students managed to acquire permanent residency in the developed country as a result, often abandon their country of origin excepting visits to remaining relatives in the home country.


There are some exceptions to this trend of the best and brightest abandoning one’s home country in favour of the country where they acquired higher education. For example, in India, B.R. Ambedkar, studied at Colombia university in the US and went on to draft the constitution of India.   It is worth noting that Ambedkar was among the first “Outcasts” in India to attain higher education.  Despite the very significant challenges presented by his social position in India’s caste ladder, he pursued studies in and earned higher educational designations in law, economics, and political science from Columbia University and the London School of Economics.

There has also been another class of persons in developing countries who, although not the best and brightest, nevertheless study at prestigious schools in the developing world.  This class usually is part of the tiny financial elite of a developing country and possesses loads of cash.  If children of this class are unable to secure admission on their own merit, they can always consider studying at a  University in Australia.  For approximately, $10,000 foreign students have purchased fake IELTS language test results, thus enhancing their chances of admission to Australian universities.  The black market in IELTS testing is a persistent phenomenon in Australia.  Such admission in turn can provide a path to permanent residency, somewhat like Canada’s “Canada Experience Class”.


There is a tension between those people who want to admit foreign students (along with their foreign cash) to Canadian universities and those who seek to maintain adequate standards of admission to those universities (not to mention Canadian visa officers who are concerned that the putative student is a refugee claimant in disguise).


Although Canadian visa officers do not test English language ability for student visa applicants (but effectively delegate that to the destination academic institution in Canada), visa officers do assess the intention of a person claiming an intention to study in Canada.  Unfortunately, there is no talent such as a horse whisperer, who can divine the intent of a person claiming to be a student.  There are theoretically other options to weed out non-genuine students such as posting of a bond, but this has yet to be implemented by Canada’s Immigration department.

The imposition of a bond would also restrict the pools of aspiring study visa applicants to that class of kleptocrats in developing countries[1] who would not be deterred by the posting of a huge bond, refundable after the student completes her studies.   The restricting of study visas to that sliver of the wealthy elite in third world countries would not attract the ‘best and the brightest’, but rather the ‘richest and not so brightest’.


Clearly, ability to pay is one criterion that visa officers consider when issuing a study permit.  Language ability is another.  However, for other less objective criteria, I advise assistance by an experienced immigration lawyer for aspiring study visa holders who may not know what other criteria a visa officer employs in assessing the legitimacy of a person claiming to want to study (rather than do something else like make a refugee claim) in Canada.

[1] Such as one of Mouaamar Gaddafi’s children, Al-Saadi al-Gaddafi, rumoured to have attended Graduate School in Toronto.

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