There were several cases of foreigners who obtained work passes with fake degrees. The Ministry of Manpower do not carry out any verification of the qualifications when they issue the work passes. They rely on employers to do the checking. But most employers are not equipped to carry out this task.
How can this challenge be addressed?
First, we have to recognize that this responsibility should be place on the government, and not of the individual employers. Here are the reasons:
1) It is difficult to verify the qualifications. But it is important to find a solution, as this is a key attribute to granting a work pass.,
2) The government is better equipped to carry out this task, as they have the authority of the law and can impose sanctions on people who intentionally cheat the system. The individual employers do not have this power.
3) It is more economical for the government to carry out the task, as they can build a central database that can be used permanently.
If the government accepts this responsibility, here is my suggestion on how it can be carried out effectively.
1) The foreigner applying for a work pass should state up to three qualifications on which they based their application. They should state the educational institute, the year of qualification and the study course that they have applied for.
2) A central database can be built up to identify the recognized institute and to establish connection with these institutes to verify that the diploma or degree is authentic.
3) For institutes that are not registered, an external agency can be appointed to verify the status of the institute. The applicant can be asked to provide contact information of the institute. This process can help to identify the suspect institutes early. It is also possible to post the names of these institutes for the public at large to give information to identify the suspect institutes.
By adopting this approach, it is likely that most fake qualifications can be identified quite easily.