Students may be removed from Canada for breach of conditions of study

By Sukhram Ramkissoon  

 According to reported statistics, Canada welcomed over 572,415 students in 2018. India continues to be the big story in Canada’s international education sector as its numbers grew by 40 percent in 2018.

This amounts to more than 172,600 Indian students that came to Canada last year, a benchmark that means India will now surpass China as the leading source of students coming to Canada. The Chinese numbers rose 2 percent last year to about 143,000.

So, let us briefly examine what is a study permit? This is a document issued by the Government of Canada that allows foreign nationals to study at designated learning institutions (DLI) in Canada.

Most foreign nationals need a study permit to study in Canada. The study permit is not a visa and does not let you enter Canada.   If the study permit is approved the visa officer will at the same time issue you with a visitor visa or an electronic travel authorization.

To obtain a student visa an applicant must establish the following:

  • enrolment in a designated learning institution (DLI); proof that they have sufficient money to pay for their tuition fees; living expenses for themselves and any family members who come with them to Canada
  • that they obey the law, have no criminal record and obtain a police certificate (if required)

      –    is in good health and get a medical exam (if required)

      –    provide prove that they will leave Canada when their study permit expires

It is also important to note that a student has certain responsibilities whilst studying and must  make progress towards completing your program; respect any conditions listing on your study permit; stop study if they no longer meet the requirements.

If a student fails to comply with any of the conditions granted under the student permit visa, he/she may be reported under the immigration Act and be removed from Canada.

So, let us look at a recent case which was recently heard at the Federal Court with respect to a student who was issued an Exclusion Order because she failed to actively engage in her studies.  I will refer to her as the “the student”.

The student is a citizen of India who arrived in Canada on August 2016 on a study permit and was enrolled at a University in BC, but failed the courses during both semesters she attended. She then enrolled in courses at a polytechnic university in May 2017 and again failed her courses. In May 2018 she enrolled at a Canadian college and had some success by passing 10 of her 13 courses. However, she missed a number of classes in early 2019 following a car accident, as a result, she did not attend the minimum number of classes and withdrew from the semester.

On March 20, 2019,” the student” entered the United States. When she re-entered Canada the same day, she was interviewed by an Immigration Officer. On March 24, 2019 she was interviewed by another officer and was given the opportunity to provide documents by March 28, 2019.

The student was questioned again on March 28, 2019; later that day, the Officer issued an exclusion order on the basis that” the student” was not complying with the terms of her study permit. Specifically, the Officer stated she had failed to actively pursue her studies as mandated by the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

In the Exclusion Order, the Officer noted that the student “failed to actively pursue her studies as mandated by the Act”. The Officer noted that she “changed educational institutions and programs repeatedly without having completed her studies.” The Officer concludes that this pattern does “not support the expectation that the student is making reasonable progress toward the completion of a Canadian credential.” She claimed she was in an accident but was unable to provide a police report of the accident or any witness statements.

She sought judicial review of the issuance of the Exclusion Order and argued that although she had struggled with her studies, she is nonetheless a bona fide student.

The judge stated amongst other things that the evidence is that “the student” has a very poor achievement and attendance record. She has failed multiple courses and has transferred to two other institutions.

The judge further stated that the Officer’s conclusion that” the student” did not meet the conditions outlined in the regulation is reasonable. She changed schools and programs and dismissed her judicial review application.

So, it is very clear from the law that if a person obtains a student visa to study in Canada and breaches any condition of the study permit, they may be removed from Canada.

SUKHRAM RAMKISSOON   is a member of ICCRC and specialises in Immigration Matters at No. 3089 Bathurst Street, Suite 219A, Toronto, Ontario. Phone 416 789 5756.