Thursday, October 31, 2013

Companies that prey upon international students

I have been working with international students at higher education institutions now for several years. Having an international background myself, it is always interesting and fun to see the new crop of students learn to navigate their way through everything and ultimately add some much needed diversity to a school.
Some of the students come for the education and with immediate plans to go back to their country and apply what they have learned, some come with no idea and just want a new adventure, and some come with the dream of never leaving. It is the last category that often tends to be the most vulnerable to certain scams and fraud.
While this fraud comes in many forms, the one I will focus on is the “we have a job for you” fraud.
International students are limited to what kind of jobs they can do while here since school is supposed to be the priority. Part-time on campus jobs are the usual, but paid internships and jobs that sponsor their visas are allowed under certain circumstances.
I recently came across a California company that made international students sign a contract that would have essentially made them indentured servants, and it contained the threat of deportment and heavy fines if they disclosed anything about the contract. I was able to stop a student from signing one of those recently by pointing out all the clauses (thank heavens); but how many other students have fallen prey?
Fraud always targets the most vulnerable in society, so schools please pay attention to your international students because they are more than just cash cows. To some, they are prey.
Dr Flavius A B Akerele III
The ETeam

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