A piece of shocking news came to light earlier in 2019. Most of us who want higher education from a foreign country think of going to the United States. For the same reason, many people apply for American universities, but not everyone’s application is processed and accepted.
People saw an opportunity here. They saw that there are thousands of people/student who don’t get taken can be approached in other ways. This is what happened, fake universities were set up, and they approached these students to enrol in their colleges. This allowed those students to get a visa for coming to America.
A Major Scam
Everything has loopholes. This is what happened with the international student visas, which the United States government provided. There was a clear way to exploit how it worked, and it is what some people did.
In a sense, it was the perfect business for the scammers. They took money from the students who just wanted to come to the United States and not study. These colleges/universities did not offer any educational courses or working permits after graduation.
They just took the money and allowed the students to show proof of enrolling in a university of the United States to the American Immigrations office so that they could get their student visas approved and come to America.
The Farmington University Incident
The US authorities call the Farmington University incident a ‘pay to stay’ scheme. You just had to pay for the college tuition, and you would get enrolled in the university so that you would be eligible for obtaining a student visa from the US government.
So what happened is the University of Farmington in Farmington Hills claimed that it is a ‘nationally-accredited business and a STEM institution’. It has an innovative curriculum and flexible classes for students who have interests in other cultural activities.
But the truth was, it was all a lie. There was no real curriculum and no particular body of students which was there to complete their education.
The Department of Homeland Security got tipped off of the unusual way the university was going on about handling their business. So they designed an undercover program which would result in uncovering one of the biggest ongoing scams in the United States.
To execute their operations, homeland security chose a location which was the most ideal for such a service. It was the university in the suburbs of Detroit.
Recruiters Found Guilty and Charged
The authorities were successful in their mission to uncover the scam. They found eight recruiters guilty and charged them. The charge against them was enlisting approximately 600 students to enrol in the university.
A statement from the prosecutors revealed that the recruiters took money from the fake universities for bringing in students. This helped them make around $250,000 in total.
Students Detained Too
It was not just these recruiters. It was also the students who enrolled at the university for getting a visa under a fake university. It is said that most of these students were Indians and the recruiters as well were Indians.
Most of the students are claiming that initially, and they did not have an idea about what they were going into. But it still raises some questions as to whether they are telling the truth and were they scammed? And even if they were scammed, why didn’t they come out and report to the authorities? US immigration services are looking into the matter right.
Undercover Agents Working Since 2017
Homeland Security, in a recent interview, released a statement that they have had undercover agents posing as the owners of the universities and programs since 2017.
This has helped the US government in determining whether the students are scammed or not. And to a certain extent, some of the times, people do scam students. But some students, on the other hand, enter into it voluntarily.
But the issue is, even after realizing that they weren’t really in real universities, the scammed students were not taking any action. They were paying their college tuition. In some instances, most of the parents were unaware of this too.
The university had no real programs, but that is not something deductible when you look at the university’s website. There was a legit phone number, e-mail id for contacting the university. But the catch was when you called them, and the call would go into voicemail box for the ‘office of admissions’.
Are The Students Guilty?
The US authorities say that they are indeed guilty. Even after knowing that they would not get any real education there and that the university is fake, they enrolled and paid the fees. But that is not where it stops.
They also exploited their non-immigrant agreements by working in the US full time. But it was all clear when an undercover agent met a student about the college and recorded their conversation in a video.
The student had no idea that he was being recorded which made him completely honest. The footage revealed that almost every student willingly took admission in the college. Because it was an opportunity for them not to have to go through the academic load, and they can secure a full-time job permit later on.
This means that every student inside the college was violating the non-immigrant agreement of their student visas. They were not doing their primary job according to their visa agreements.
Homeland Security said that violations such as these degrade the standard of their international student visas. In addition to it, they also create an unsafe environment for the people of America to lead their lives in. As of now, the University of Farmington still has its website online.
But now, when you open the university’s website, you will also see a logo of Homeland Security. The logo says, ‘The US Department of Homeland Security has closed the University of Farmington.