Canterbury MP's concern over fake university degrees scam

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image captionThe website in China sells fake degrees for dozens of universities in the UK

An MP is writing to the Foreign Office amid concerns that fake University of Kent degrees sold in China could be used to gain visas or jobs in the UK.

It follows an investigation by BBC Radio Kent which found the certificates for sale on the internet for £500.

Julian Brazier, the Conservative MP for Canterbury and Whitstable, said it was clearly dishonest.

The University of Kent said students worked hard to gain their degrees at UK universities and it was very worrying.

"Any employer or other organisation that has doubts about the authenticity of a University of Kent degree certificate is urged to contact us and we will be happy to verify the qualification," a statement said.

'Novelty purposes'

Posing as a customer, BBC Radio Kent discovered a website in the Far East which was offering to sell degree certificates from dozens of UK universities, including the University of Kent.

It said they were for "novelty purposes, or as a replacement for lost diplomas".

In an email conversation with the website, which is registered in Beijing, the BBC was told: "We can make it the same as the original one, and you can use it to look for a good job."

Mr Brazier said there was also a concern that the authentic-looking certificates could be used to help evade immigration controls into the UK.

Copyright lawyer Dean Orgil said it would be hard to track down the people behind the operation to bring legal proceedings.

"Even if money was spent trying to track down the originators it would be difficult to take any sort of realistic, meaningful enforcement action, so universities are in a difficult position here," he said.

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