In Punjab, thousands await study permit after 10 Canadian colleges face admission scrutiny

Consultants involved with sending students to Canada told The Indian Express that these colleges are allegedly conduct classes for just 2-3 days in a week and rest of the days, students can work.

Jashanjeet Singh (name changed) took admission in a management course last year in Matrix College in Montreal, Quebec. As he planned to fly to Canada for the second semester after completing the first one online, his travel plans were grounded due to the provincial government there suspending 10 colleges. The list included Matrix College. With the suspension, the authorities also stopped issuing Quebec Acceptance Certification (QAC), which is a document that international students require for their study permit. The QAC ban came into effect in last year December.

“Later suspension was lifted and the processing of students’ permit was allowed. But despite that our applications for QAC have been pending…The Canadian government is demanding more and more documents from us including the details of funding proof, sponsors, future plans etc.,” said Jashanjeet.

“I have already paid the full year’s fee and completed one semester. Now if I change my college or province, I do not know whether they will refund one semester’s fee or not, because in some other college I may not get the same course which I am pursuing right now,” he said, adding that with change of college and no refund of first semester fee would mean a loss of over Rs 4 lakh, which was the tuition fee for one semester.

Nikita from Jalandhar, who took admission in a computer science course, is also stuck as her college was in the list of the barred 10 institutes.

She had paid around Rs 8 lakh tuition fee for the first year and is now waiting for the study permit to travel.

“Students who have applied to colleges in other provinces along with us are getting permission and are ready to fly when the flights resume, but our future is at stake and the government must do something about these colleges or refund our money so that we can apply in the educational institutes of other provinces of Canada,” she said.
Balwinder Singh, who had enrolled for the January intake in one such college, hasn’t got his QAC either.

Like these students, there are hundreds who are stuck because of picking these 10 colleges for further studies in Canada. These 10 colleges are private institutes in Montreal and have landed in trouble for alleged wrong practices in admissions of international students.

Consultants involved with sending students to Canada told The Indian Express that these colleges are allegedly conduct classes for just 2-3 days in a week and rest of the days, students can work.

“These colleges complete mandatory study hours — 20 hours in a week — in 2-3 days for taking classes for long classes, and then students are free to work for the rest of days of the week,” said a consultant.

“To qualify for to study in Montreal, which has a large number of private and community colleges, a candidate must get overall 6 bands in four modules (speaking, writing, listening and reading) of IELTS, including 6 bands in three modules each and 5.5 bands in one module, but most of these 10 institutes were accepting overall 6 bands and 5.5 bands in two of the four modules,” informed another consultant who has been sending students to Canada on study visas for more than a decade.

“Also, there was a steep rise in the admission in these colleges — at least 9 to 10 times more than usual, which led the provincial government to investigate the admission practices of these colleges,” said another consultant.

Rajkumar, MD of Arman Immigration in Jalandhar, which deals in study visas for Canada, said: “Despite resumption of students permit process for these colleges there is no clarity that when the students will get that as from Punjab itself nearly 15,000 students have taken admission in these colleges for the 2020-21 intake, and all are waiting for QAC now”.

He added that in Canada around 80 per cent of colleges or educational institutes are government funded which are called community colleges and students should opt for them for their secure future rather than going to private colleges and land in trouble.

Another consultant said that in private colleges the fee is less and the commission of the agent, who facilitates the colleges to get more students admitted, is more as they get around 20 to 25 per cent of the fee.

Despite Covid-19, overall around 40,000 to 50,000 students from Punjab have been waiting to fly to Canada since April this year, when the flights were stopped.

As of now, the resumption of flights has been deferred till July 31. Consultants, who spoke to The Indian Express, said that governments of both India and Canada should permit the students, who have taken even a single dose of vaccine to fly.

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