'Highly Trusted' College In Immigration Scam
Jason Farrell, Sky News Investigations

Staff at a college ranked as "highly trusted" by the UK Border Agency are helping foreign students cheat the immigration system, a Sky News investigation has found.
The investigation discovered that diploma certificates and dissertations were for sale inside the London College of Business in Barking.

As "highly trusted" by the UK Border Agency, the college can sponsor visa applications for foreign students and help them towards post-study work visas if they get their applications in by April 6.

But we found foreign students desperate to obtain visas can buy themselves the necessary qualifications without attending any classes.

It should take nine months to get a postgraduate diploma from the college but its marketing consultant has been secretly filmed by Sky News telling students they ican have one in a week if they pay 1,000.

Dr Javed Akhtar told one student who had not been on the course: "Don't worry - It could be done in a week. The first thing is registration. Then comes your PGD.

"When you get your PGD you'll be registered with the university in a day. The only thing you need to do is submit your dissertation."

Master's degree dissertations are also for sale. A student working for us was told by Dr Javed if he wanted the qualifications quickly he could pay someone at the college 500 to provide his coursework. That dissertation is then sent to be externally marked at the University of Wales.

The student asked: "What are the chances of me applying for the visa right away?"

Dr Javed responded: "Yes you can. Everything is done for you. We're just waiting for the money."

We made an initial payment of 270 and the first section of the dissertation was sent through to us.

In the meantime, our student was given his postgraduate diploma certificate.

We checked the certificate number with awarding bodies EBMA and the Qualifications Network who confirmed our student was a genuine graduate, even though we knew he never took the course.

Former college lecturer Mike recounts his experience with the UK Border Agency

The student was also given a completion letter which said he had studied at the London Canada College, at an address next door to the London College of Business. We can find no evidence that this college still runs courses and were unable to contact it.

The undercover student told us: "This was a great surprise for me because you can buy a diploma for an amount of money. When I spoke to the guy he said, 'Just come on Friday. We have a class but it's just a formality, so that you know where the library is and all the things, if anyone asks you about the college.'"

Sky News also discovered that a member of the public tried to report the London College of Business to the UK Border Agency several weeks ago but struggled to find anyone willing to listen.

Former college lecturer Mike told us: "Having run a college myself I had an email and a phone number. I sent an email but got no reply. I left messages, no one got back to me.

"Eventually (after two weeks trying), I got through to the head of crime prevention, or fraud prevention for the area where this college is.
"He took down the name of the college but, as soon as we gave him the name of the college, he didn't want to know any details about what the college was up to or anything like that. He just said, 'Thank you.' That was the end of the conversation. He hung up."

In a statement, Immigration Minister Damian Green told Sky News: "We are determined to crack down on abuse of the student visa system, which has gone on for far too long.

"This Government has brought in radical changes across the board, which are beginning to bite.

"We take all allegations very seriously and the UK Border Agency were already aware of allegations in relation to the London College of Business in Barking and undertook a visit to their premises on Monday as part of an ongoing investigation."

We approached Dr Akhtar for his response but he denied allegations of selling diplomas.

The University of Wales said it "investigates all allegations of misconduct, and has already launched an investigation into this matter. Furthermore, the University of Wales announced in October 2011 that it was bringing to a close all of its current validated activities".

The London College of Business stated: "This person is not (nor ever has been) an employee of ours. He is one of the many people, members of the general public and former students, who refer prospective students to us. This he does for many colleges and universities not just London College of Business."

Have you seen anything needs investigating?
Contact Jason on Twitter: @SkyInvestigates, or email investigations@skynews.com.