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1 April, 2009 - 10:52 By Tony Quested

Bedford firm in Chinese CV fraud battle

 

A Bedford company that verifies academic qualifications is in global demand as companies and universities battle a tide of fraudulent CVs – principally from China.

Verifile has just landed an exclusive contract with the China Academic Degrees and Graduate Education Development Centre (CDGDC) in Beijing. It will work with the centre to provide a streamlined service where employers, individuals and academic organisations can check the validity of qualifications gained in China. The company uses internet technology to speed up the screening process. Around 80,000 Chinese study in Britain annually and almost 100 Chinese educated doctors are practising in the UK – and as the Chinese economy cools more highly qualified Chinese nationals are likely to seek work or further study here, Verifile believes. Yet a spot check on 50 degree certificates presented by Chinese students to a north of England university showed that 49 of them were forgeries. Verifile managing director, Eyal Ben Cohen, says that many of the forgeries are pathetically transparent. Since Verifile’s role with the CDGDC in Beijing was made public, Eyal says that demand from US institutions has been flowing in – but none from British universities, despite the volume of Chinese students and workers looking to the UK. “I was really shocked by how slow the UK has been to respond to a fraudulent practice that has clearly become rife,” he said. “It’s frankly quite frightening how many forged degrees are emanating from China.” Verifile receives applications from a range of people who need qualifications validating in order to recruit or apply for jobs or university places. It can be difficult to verify qualifications issued from a country with a different educational system and written characters and there is the issue of identifying bogus qualifications which can be bought on-line. Verifile deals with all those problems by working closely with the Ministry of Education in China which helps carry out validity checks. A formal verification report is issued within 20 working days covering any recognised institution in China, making the process more efficient for businesses and educational institutions within the UK. Verifile is a member of UK Trade & Investment’s Passport to Export programme, which provides support to new and inexperienced exporters to expand into new markets and increase their chances of export success. UKTI also introduced Verifile to the China Britain Business Council, which helped the firm make many strong contacts and gave it access to a wealth of information to help it in its quest. The director of the verification department at CDGDC, Li Ping, said: “Through the partnership between CDGDC and Verifile we hope to streamline the movement of people between our two countries.”

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