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'Sham Universities' Offer Student Visas to Foreign Workers

Oct 10, 2011

With the intent of making a profit, a number of unaccredited schools are posing as legitimate higher education institutions. The Education Insider takes a closer look at how these sham universities are offering educational visas to foreign workers and intending international students.

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By Erin Tigro

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How Foreigners Qualify for Student Visas

Individuals interested in coming to the U.S. for educational purposes can apply for an academic or a vocational student visa, either the F or M status document. Spouses and children may also qualify to receive dependent family member visas. In order to be considered for the process, applicants must only be seeking a temporary stay here and should, consequently, have a permanent residence in another country. In addition, student visa applicants must also be able to prove that they have the financial backing required to attend school in the U.S. After completing their educational training, they are obligated to exit the country. Universities are typically responsible for requesting these student visas from the government. However, in order to obtain these documents, sham universities provide false information needed to process the requests.

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Fake Schools Making Money by Recruiting Foreign Nationals

The goal of bogus universities is to make money by enticing foreigners to come to the U.S. on these special visas. Individuals who are truly interested in obtaining an education realize they have been duped once they arrive in the U.S. Others, who may be just looking to come to the U.S. for a chance of employment, know what they're signing up for and never attend class (if courses are even offered). The lack of government oversight seems to perpetuate this type of immigration fraud and illegal enterprise. In fact, in early 2011, Fox News reported that U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement uncovers hundreds of these phony schools every year.

Instances of Busted School Fronts

At the former Tri-Valley University in California, more than 1,500 foreigners enrolled, each paying more than $5,000 a piece to attend. To perpetuate the scheme, Tri-Valley paid enrollees who were able to get their friends and family from abroad to join. Similar deceptive practices were also undertaken at the now debunked Florida Language Institute, which proffered visas to more than 500 foreigners from various countries, including Thailand, Japan, Indonesia, Columbia and Venezuela. Another 'school' in California was found to have been bringing in prostitutes from abroad under the guise of student visas.

Continue reading for more information about one of the more recent student visa scandals, committed by the sham Tri-Valley University.

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