Diplomatic relations between Canada and India are at a low ebb following an allegation by the Canadian PM, Justin Trudeau, that the Indian government may have been involved in the assassination of a Sikh separatist leader in Vancouver. India reacted angrily, calling the claim “absurd”, and temporarily suspended visa services for Canadian citizens. The two countries also engaged in tit-for-tat expulsions of senior diplomats.

The ongoing and escalating tension has caused uncertainty for prospective Indian students who had planned to study in Canada. Many fear that Canada may stop issuing visas to Indians, or that there will be delays in the processing of Canadian study permits.

An article in University World News on 26 September 2023, reported that representatives of Canadian universities who attended an education fair in Hyderabad on 22 September, said the diplomatic dispute could cause visa delays for Indian students and possibly affect the spring academic session due to begin in January. They advised students to defer their start date to the fall session which opens in August 2024.

Several reports in the India media describe the efforts of education agents in the country to calm the concerns of students and their families by assuring them that the bilateral tension is likely to be temporary, and that Canadian study permits are still being processed as normal.

Profiteering by education agents

One Indian media outlet has reported evidence that some education agents in India are seeking to exploit the Canada-India crisis by demanding more money from their current Canada-bound clients on the basis that the study permit application process may get harder.

A News 18 story quoted “Varun, an Indian-origin resident of Canada and committee member of the Montreal Youth Student Organisation (MYSO).”

We have received calls from parents who are being misguided. The existing nexus of ‘agents’ and ‘subagents’ in India could milk this situation and could ask for more money from parents to ‘ease out visa hurdles’. Authorities need to keep an eye on such scammers.

Working with education education agents?

AgentBee’s education agent due diligence solution supports educational institutions to implement best practice education agent due diligence processes.

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  • protect students – conduct initial and ongoing due diligence checks on education agents.
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