UK probing NRI lecturer in visa scam

UK probing NRI lecturer in visa scam

Lecturer Surya Medicherla was filmed giving students tips on how to cheat in exams and how to deceive the UK Border Agency (UKBA) at the Rayat London College, whose degrees are validated by the University of Wales.

A BBC undercover investigation showed Medicherla warning students not to be complacent about the UKBA while completing degree formalities before applying for the Post-Study Work (PSW) visa, which is to be phased out from April 2012.

According to current laws, overseas students who complete a degree course in the UK can apply for the PSW visa which allows them to work and live here for two years.

Since it is being phased out as part of the David Cameron government efforts to curb immigration, some educational institutions are reportedly tempting overseas students to fraudulently obtain degrees before the April deadline sothat they could apply for the PSW visa.

He says in the film: "In some corners of your heart you are so happy because you are not studying anything but you are getting your PGD (postgraduate diploma). You are not really bothered about what you are going to write but these things will in future prove very costly so at least remember the subjects".

The BBC quoted him as saying: "Just please be careful, just getting the PSW does not mean that we have fooled the UKBA - no, they are quite intelligent - they are more intelligent than what we are."

Medicherla later told BBC it was never his intention to show students how to cheat.

Reacting to the BBC investigation, Immigration Minister Damian Green said: "It's fraud - it's clearly trying to create and exploit a loophole in the immigration system. If people are committing scams then they should be worried - we're after them."

A spokesperson for Rayat London College said Medicherla, registrar and admissions officer had been suspended.

The college said it wished to disassociate itself from any alleged wrongdoing and had referred the matter to the police.

Earlier this week the University of Wales announced that it would stop validating degrees from other institutions.

The university’s chancellor is Prince Wales.

Prof Sir Deian Hopkin, former vice-chancellor of London South Bank University, said the developments were worrying.

He said: "If someone comes along and says a British degree can be bought and sold ... that's not good news."

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