Study permit mistake leaves Winnipeg student in limbo

An international student at Red River College in Winnipeg says a mistake by Citizenship and Immigration Canada has almost put a stop to his education.

Sampan Singh feared he'd have to drop out of school after study permit error

An international student at Red River College in Winnipeg says a mistake by Citizenship and Immigration Canada has almost put a stop to his education. 2:12

An international student at Red River College says a mistake by Citizenship and Immigration Canada has almost put a stop to his education.

"It's quite frustrating because I'm suffering for some mistake that I never did," said Sampan Singh.

Originally from India, the 28-year-old has studied around the world. After going to school in England and Scotland, he started working as a mechanical engineer in Abu Dhabi.

When Singh decided to upgrade his skills, he chose Winnipeg to further his education.

"I had heard some nice stories about Canada, heard lots of Indians are here. Some of my friends are here, so that's why I chose it," he said.

Singh started in Red River College's Technology Management program in August 2014 after being granted an international study permit from the federal government.

Slowly I'm getting depression … because it's just like quite upsetting because I had some dreams when I came here, and now it's just taking so long.- Sampan Singh

In November, he applied to have the study permit extended.

It was approved, but when his permit came in the mail, it had an expiry date of Jan. 1, 2015.

"I spoke to the CIC advisers and they advised there has been an error and they'd try to rectify it as soon as possible," he said.

"That was the fifth of January 2015. Since then, I have spoken to them quite a few times. They just keep telling me to wait … wait."

Without an updated permit, Singh isn't allowed to go to class or work.

But Red River College's Department of International Education has rallied behind him. Because his extension was technically approved, the school has allowed him to go to class, so his studies won't be interrupted.

Sampan Singh, 28, says a mistake by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has caused him enormous stress and left him fearing he'd have to drop out of school. (CBC)
Still, the school has told Singh that if he doesn't get his visa sorted out by March, he would have to withdraw from the course for this semester, which has put enormous strain on Singh. 

"Slowly I'm getting depression because it's just like quite upsetting because I had some dreams when I came here and now it's just taking so long. I'd have to continue the second term next year, so that's a loss of time and money," said Singh.

After CBC News contacted Citizenship and Immigration Canada, it reviewed Singh's case and admitted that a clerical error was made.

It has issued Singh a new study permit, valid for three months after the expected completion date of his studies, and says the new permit should arrive in the mail in the next few days.

Singh is grateful but says the error has changed his impression of the Canadian government.

Meanwhile, the federal department says it does not track the number of permit mistakes it makes and is investigating why the error was made in this case.

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