International students hold vigil for classmate

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A group of international students at St. Clair College is calling attention to an issue involving work permits after a classmate took his own life.

A group of international students at St. Clair College is calling attention to an issue involving work permits after a classmate took his own life.

The students gathered Friday afternoon for a vigil outside Windsor City Hall to remember a 25-year-old classmate whose despair over his work situation led him to commit suicide two weeks ago. Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens attended the vigil.

Spokesman Arjun Verma, one of the students who was denied a work permit this summer, said the vigil was to ensure their classmate, Ajesh Chopra, would be remembered and their cause would be furthered.

“We are here to honour and respect his families wishes, and we want to send out a message that he will stay in our hearts,” said Verma.

Chopra, already despondent over his work permit being pulled, went to the U.S. border crossing in Prescott, Ontario on September 6. When he tried to discuss his plight with border guards there, his passport was taken away and he was booked on a flight home to India the following week. According to the Watertown Daily Times in New York state, Chopra died after jumping into the St. Lawrence River. His body was found on September 9.

A Go-Fund-Me account had been set up to raise money for funeral expenses and pay for his family to fly from India to Montreal.

Chopra was one of about 25 students in St. Clair’s international business management program who completed a year-long course, along with a logistics course, believing their work permits would be ready upon completion.

Verma said Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada only approved some of the work permits. The case is now before the courts and Verma said the group can only wait and hope that all will soon be able to work legally in Canada.

“There’s so much we can do because everything has been presented to the courts,” said Verma. “Everything is with the higher authorities. There’s only the wait and watch that we can do.”

Windsor immigration lawyer Eddie Kadri has been handling the students’ case.

Ajesh Chopra, a St. Clair College student from India who died September 6. Photo from a Go-Fund-Me account set up by Arjun Verma.

Source: Blackburn News

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