Canada’s CBC has reported that Brijesh Mishra, the rogue education agent who triggered a legal and political storm last year when he was accused of duping dozens of Canada-bound Indian international students, putting them at risk of deportation. A Canadian Border Services Agency investigation tied him to dozens of fraudulent acceptance letters for Canadian colleges and universities that were provided to prospective international students between 2016 and 2020. The case prompted then Canadian immigration Minister, to freeze the planned deportations and establish a task force to investigate the cases.

Mishra, who was involved with the education agency Education Migration Services in Jalandhar, India was arrested in Surrey, British Columbia in June 2023 and remanded in custody. He initially denied the allegations against him, but on 29 May 2024 he stood before the Provincial Court of British Columbia and plead guilty to three charges under Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, including misrepresentation and communicating false information.

Mishra was sentenced to three years in prison, to include the time he has already served on remand, which leaves a further 19 months time left to serve. Mishra reportedly told the court:

“I’m sorry. I cannot change the past, but I can make sure I do not do it again in the future.”

The “MO”

A statement of facts submitted to the court summarised the pattern of Mishra’s multiple acts of fraud:

  • The prospective students typically came from a modest background in the Indian state of Punjab with the desire to study in Canada and were referred to Mishra by family or friends.
  • A student would give Mishra passport information, transcripts and English language test results
  • Misha advised the students to apply to multiple institutions and then handled the applications on behalf of the students.
  • Mishra would subsequently advise the student that they were accepted to study at an institution and provide them with a letter of acceptance.
  • The student’s family paid Mishra a range of fees – usually in cash with no receipts – including application fees, tuition, immigration fees and consulting fees.
  • Upon arrival in Canada the student would attempt to attend classes at the institution they believed they had gained admission to, only to find that they were not admitted.
  • When the student contact Mishra he would either enroll them in another institution or avoid them and their families.

Deportation and death penalty?

Mishra faces deportation to India at the end of his prison sentence in Canada. The CBC reports that the rogue education agent will likely face further criminal charges in India, including a human trafficking offence which carries a possible death penalty. Another Canadian media outlet ran the headline “India death sentence possible after B.C. immigration fraud convictions.” In this context it is important to note that Canada, as a country that opposes the death penalty, would be unlikely to return a person to another country in circumstances where the imposition of the death penalty is a possibility. In these cases it is typical for the returning country – in this Canada – to seek an assurance from the receiving country that the death penalty will not be imposed following a conviction, or if it is imposed, that it will not be carried out.

Sources: CBC , North Shore News