Sunday, April 26, 2009

Market for bogus colleges

Colleges not only educate students, they also give them credentials and certifications. So it is not too surprising that there is both a demand for credentials without education, and a supply.

In the United States, the focus seems to be on degrees. (If you type "college degrees" into Google, you find a number of intriguing options, including one that offers a degree in a week. Of course, maybe they have discovered a teaching and learning technology that we should all emulate...)

In Britain, it appears that the market focuses on obtaining a letter of admission, for immigration purposes: Fake colleges enable foreigners to disappear through the loophole.

"Bogus colleges set up to help foreign workers to enter Britain illegally have long been considered the biggest loophole in British immigration controls.
Often little more than two rooms over a takeaway restaurant or newsagents, the colleges have been enrolling hundreds of “overseas students” each year to enable them to obtain visas.
Phil Woolas, the Immigration Minister, described the bogus colleges last month as the Achilles’ heel in the immigration system. The Government announced a crackdown on them in 2003 but regulations did not come into force until the end of last month.
Under the new rules, all universities, colleges and schools must be approved by the UK Border Agency before they can issue visa letters to foreign students. Of the 2,100 institutions that applied for a sponsor licence, 467 have failed the vetting. More than 3,000 other colleges estimated to have been accepting foreign students have not applied for a licence."

One of the latest terrorist suspects to be arrested in Britain appears to have entered Britain from Pakistan with a visa from a bogus college: Terror suspect was enrolled at college shut down by Home Office

Update: a subsequent story, 5/21/09 Sham colleges open doors to Pakistani terror suspects

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