CIMM – Narrative: Concerning Reports of International Student Fraud – June 14, 2023

International students bring significant benefits to our Canadian academic institutions, to our economy and to communities from coast to coast to coast.

As has been reported, there is an ongoing issue with visa fraud impacting international students. Many of these students here in Canada are victims, while others have taken advantage of the system with fraudulent documents and have been involved in criminality.

The integrity of the student program is essential for the students who choose Canada.

When it comes to fraud, we are focused on identifying organizers of coordinated fraud, not penalizing victims. Our immigration system is flexible and we have tools to use when people are true victims. We have measures in place to detect fraud and to flag these cases in our system in order to deter future fraud.

A review of the International Student Program is under way to strengthen program integrity and to enhance protection so that we can address student vulnerability, unethical recruitment and unreliable consultants.

IRCC works with its local and international partners to detect and deter fraud, and continuously improves its systems to detect evidence of fraud. Where fraud tips are involved, IRCC will look into each tip.

IRCC officers are working even closer with provinces and territories, and organizations representing Canada’s colleges and universities to better detect and combat fraud, and to uphold the integrity of our immigration programs.

IRCC also launches targeted campaigns when they are warranted, such as the 2023 advertising campaign launched in India to raise awareness among prospective applicants of recent fraud trends. In March 2023, IRCC ran a $400,000 advertising campaign in India targeting potential visitors, students and workers to decrease the misuse of permits and to reduce fraud. There were over 135,000 visits to campaign web content, and ads were seen or heard over 100 million times. This work supplements the in-person efforts of the mission in India.

Canada has taken decisive measures to combat organizers of coordinated fraud. Measures include holding immigration and citizenship consultants to account by investing $48.3 million over four years and $9.8 million ongoing to improve oversight, strengthen enforcement and increase accountability to protect the public from dishonest consultants and other bad actors who take advantage of vulnerable people.

IRCC launched a letter of acceptance verification project in 2018 to verify the authenticity and validity of student letters of acceptance. The project has a centralized office for communicating with designated learning institutions.

As part of our efforts to improve client service, IRCC is working to build a stronger immigration system. This work includes harnessing automation technologies to help us increase processing capacity and efficiency, while protecting the safety and security of Canadians.

Given rising application volumes and the increasing sophistication of program integrity threats, new data analysis tools are needed to enable processing efficiencies while ensuring the integrity of our programs.

In January 2023, we launched an integrity trend analysis tool that analyzes large volumes of IRCC’s data to find objective fact-based patterns that may point to high-risk clients with issues such as criminal activity and misrepresentation. The tool provides decision-makers with trend information to make confident and risk-informed decisions on applications.

IRCC is also conducting a review to explore how Canada’s immigration policies and programs can best support what we need in Canada for the future. Engagement on “An Immigration System for Canada’s Future” began in late February 2023.

While Canada’s immigration system is considered world‑class, migration trends and international challenges are evolving. To maintain our position as a global leader, we need to start planning for the future now.

Page details

Date modified: