Kings College of Management gets new licence after fake places scandal
By Andrew Norfolk
The Times (London), December 21, 2009
A college exposed by The Times for providing fake places to more than 1,000 foreign nationals has been awarded a new government licence to bring hundreds of overseas students to Britain.
Kings College of Management (KCM), in Manchester, closed in the summer after The Times revealed that although it claimed to have only 67 students it had secretly enrolled more than 1,100 foreigners and offered places to a further 1,575.
After The Times handed the Home Office a dossier of evidence in May, KCM was temporarily shut down by its owner, Farah Anjum, a Pakistani businesswoman.
It has now reopened with a new director but using the same name and premises. The sole director of Universal Education Services Ltd, the new company running the college, says that he is a retired former officer of the Pakistani Army who came to Britain in 2001. Shabbir Hussain Malik, 64, told The Times that Dr Anjum was a family friend who sold him the college for 15,000. He insisted that she and others previously associated with KCM were no longer involved in its operation.
Since March, any college wishing to bring foreign students to Britain has been required to pass a two-stage inspection. As a result, the number of institutions entitled to enrol foreign nationals has fallen from 4,000 to 2,000. KCM had already passed the first hurdle, winning accreditation as a 'high-quality institution' from a government-approved education body, before its operation was exposed by The Times.
In a secret recording obtained by the newspaper, a woman confided that a KCM employee charged 1,000 last year to help her 18-year-old nephew to gain a student entry visa. He was told that he would be able to find a full-time job and would not need to attend any lectures. After a year, he would be given a false college certificate to confirm his impeccable attendance record. The college also kept a hidden list of 207 people already living in Britain who were sold fake diplomas.
KCM failed to win one of the licences under its previous ownership, but has now passed the second stage of the process, a Border Agency inspection that the Home Office described as unannounced and rigorous.
Mr Malik said that he was now entitled to enrol up to 500 international students but initially intended to keep the numbers down to '125 or 150'. KCM will charge annual tuition fees of up to 4,500 for its courses.He said: 'Im keeping a very close watch on the attendance records of all the students. Anyone who misses three days without a valid reason will be reported to the Home Office.'
In May, The Times revealed close ties between 11 colleges in London, Manchester and Bradford, all formed in the past five years and linked to three Pakistani fraudsters who entered Britain on student visas. They exploited a gaping hole in the immigration system to help thousands of Pakistanis to enrol as students in the network of sham colleges. The newspapers investigation led to an inquiry by the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee.
A spokesman confirmed that the Home Office was still investigating some of the people previously involved with the running of KCM and those linked to a second college whose bogus operation was exposed by The Times, Manchester College of Professional Studies.
Eight of ten terror suspects arrested in April in Manchester and Liverpool over an alleged al-Qaeda bomb plot were enrolled at the college. None was charged.