IISc PhD students denied visa to attend conference in Canada

The organizers of the Canadian conference have intervened after IISc voiced their concerns on Twitter, and assured that they have directed Immigration officials to look into the challenges faced by the students

The Department of Computational and Data Sciences at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc),  India’s leading university and research institution, voiced concern as three of their PhD students faced ‘unjust denials’ from Canadian visa authorities. The students required visas to attend the Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition Conference (CVPR) between June 18-22, 2023 at the Vancouver Conventional Center.

Two students, Harsh Rangwani and Abhipsa Basu, are from the institute’s Vision and AI Lab while the third student, Siddharth Asoka, is from the spectrum lab which is part of the Electrical Engineering Department. An intern named Samyak Jain from IIT Bhubaneswar has been denied a visa as well.

Protesting the rejection on Twitter and demanding an explanation from the authorities, the institute said, “Indian PhD students from @iiscbangalore, who have first-authored papers at prestigious conferences like @CVPR, are facing unjust denials of Canadian visas with shocking reasons ‘limited employment possibilities in India’ and ‘purpose of visit not consistent with a temporary stay.’”

A follow-up tweet read, “It is disheartening to witness such treatment for 4 students who applied for the Visa from IISc, especially considering that @iiscbangalore is ranked amongst the top Indian universities in the world by QS World University Rankings.” In another tweet, the lab requested Canada’s Immigration division to reevaluate the visa applications of the students.

The organizers of the conference acknowledged the visa issues on May 29 through its official Twitter page. “We are sorry for the visa difficulties that have been encountered. The #CVPR2023 organizers are actively engaging with Canadian immigration authorities to raise awareness of the challenges attendees face during the visa application process,” read the tweet.

The issue faced by students from IISc does not seem to be a one-off case. Prof. Vivek Tiwari who teaches at the Indian Institute of Science and Research’s Berhampur, Odisha campus responded with a similar woe on IISc’s tweets. “My student who has been awarded a presentation and award from a keystone meeting ISMRM has been denied Canadian visa with a very lame answer that your travel is not required something like that,” Tiwari tweeted.

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