Tackling “bogus” students
According to the BBC, bogus students are facing a global crackdown.
“Unscrupulous” recruitment agents who bring bogus overseas students into the UK are being targeted in an international initiative. The British Council has for the first time brought together countries including the UK, the US and Australia to try to keep out such students. The council says there are “widespread concerns” about dishonest agents. Universities say the majority of agents are legitimate and are an important way of finding overseas students. Rogue agents are accused of falsifying documents and helping people to get around the student visa system, the rules of which immigration authorities in the UK have tried to tighten.
The scale of the problem is not clear. Nor is it clear what additional steps might be taken given the recent significant changes to visa regulations which are already intended to tackle the issue. Agents are an important part of institutions’ international recruitment strategies and it is in universities’ interests to ensure that agents are legitimate and well-run. Universities have significant experience of identifying fraudulent applicants and, whilst international collaboration on this matter can only be helpful, it is not clear what more is being proposed.