MOM probes 15 for fake educational qualifications

The Ministry of Manpower is investigating 15 work pass holders here who had declared qualifications from Manav Bharti University in their work pass applications.

The Indian university in Himachal Pradesh state had sold 36,000 fake degrees over 11 years, the Times of India (TOI) reported earlier this month.

Of the 41,000 degrees issued by the university, only 5,000 are genuine, a special investigating team in India had found.

MOM said yesterday that if the work pass holders are found to have falsely declared their educational qualifications, their work passes will be immediately revoked and they will be permanently barred from working here. They may also be prosecuted under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act.

In the past five years, an average of 660 foreigners each year were permanently barred from working here as they had submitted fake educational qualifications. An average of eight foreigners each year were also convicted and penalised for the false declarations.

MOM noted that employers have the primary responsibility of ensuring the authenticity of academic qualifications of the foreigners they wish to hire. The ministry also conducts its own checks after the employer submits the documents.

Asia Polyurethane Manufacturing chief executive Erman Tan told The Straits Times that companies can do more stringent checks on their prospective employees, but they may not have sufficient resources to conduct thorough due diligence. Universities can also help by publishing the names of their graduates online, added Mr Tan, who is former president of the Singapore Human Resources Institute.

TOI said the police in India have initiated the process to extradite Manav Bharti Charitable Trust chairman Raj Kumar Rana from Australia.

He is chairman of the trust that operates private universities, including Manav Bharti, in Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan. He and his family are said to have amassed property worth 3.87 billion rupees (S$70.7 million) from the racket.

Correction note: An earlier version of this story listed Mr Erman Tan as Singapore Human Resources Institute president. Ms Low Peck Kem succeeded him as president in April 2019. We are sorry for the error.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 18, 2021, with the headline MOM probes 15 for fake educational qualifications. Subscribe