Thursday, January 20, 2022

Understand the Process of Applying for Studying Abroad

opportunity_to_study_abroad In Pakistan trend of studying abroad is getting more and more popular so the process of getting a study visa is getting more and more complicated. Just like many other fields where huge profits are involved, crooks and fraudulent companies always manage to make their way, so this field is also not out of the league. Many families have lost life long hard earned fortune.

The main cause of becoming the victim of fraud is lack of general knowledge. People do not know their rights. They have no idea about international and local laws, and rules regarding how to apply for a study or business visas. They completely rely on consultancies and agencies for the process and do as they say without taking any second opinion. People need to educate themselves thoroughly about this process before they take any step into it.

Internationally, the Education Consultants are self employed professionals, who provide solutions to problems in a specific area or field, and the School Counsellors are employed by schools / academies are qualified and experience advisors in education planning. These two are separate from each other in the line of services. However, in Pakistan the case is little different, here the Education Consultants have redefined the role of School Counsellors and Immigration Consultants by performing similar job functions and more without legitimate qualification and experience. This merge of role and responsibilities has caused grown number of unsupervised educational consultancy firms with little of no qualification of services.

The School Counsellors are bound by school policies and code of conduct, whereas the Educational Consultants are not bound by any particular rule or code for practicing, because they are not directly governed by Ministry of Education.

There are some fun facts about Educational Consultants here in Pakistan:-

1- There are more than 5000 educational consultancy firms operating in Pakistan, with partner / affiliate offices in UK, Australia, Canada, Malaysia, USA and many other countries.

2- There are about 2500 educational consultancy firms in Karachi alone, near Gulshan-e-Iqbal and near its surrounding areas.

3- 20% of graduating students are bound to get influenced due to peer pressure or in tempt of foreign benefits and try the educational consultancy firms at least once.

4- 90% of people prepare fake bank statements to show affordability for education at foreign universities.

5- 10% people will end up being cheated and most of them lose their money, because they made the payments either to agents or educational consultancy firms instead of the academic institution they are applying to.

6- Under the new student visa rules implemented after April 21, 2011m qualifying IELTS is compulsory for all student applying student visas in foreign universities with work permits.

7- 85% of students try to avail the free packages offered by marketing schemes, such as Free IELTS scholarship, Free lunch, 50% consultation fee discount, laptops, lucky draws, pay back schemes and many more.

Free IELTS training, pay backs, free lunch and all these schemes are a clear hint that the consultancy firm is not sincere with the services they are providing, they are more interested in generating revenue than providing quality services to their clients. In the survey conducted in year 2010, about 85% consultancy firms were found unregistered and unrecognized, yet still working in the field. One can easily evaluate what kind of service they may be providing and how committed they will be to their clients.

Follow these basic guidelines to avoid the frauds:-

1- Always conducts a thorough background check on the educational consultant and the organization including their affiliated institutions. Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) letters tat universities issue cannot be given to students directly by any consultant unless they or their firm are authorized and declared by the university as Regional Representative for that university. You may call or email the academic institution abroad for this assistance.

2- Do not be fooled by large billboards with success stories and high rating displayed, as they typically cost from Rs. 35,000 to Rs. 500,000 per month for advertisement, which may or may not be sponsored by foreign agencies. This amount can be recovered from only a couple of students who are ready to spend an average of US$ 500,000 for an ideal settlement.

3- Education consultants can not deal with immigration authorities because not only there is a law degree required for this but they must also be legal practitioners and work with Bar Association of the country. Legal practitioner and their consultancy and business names can easily be found on the country’s tourism websites.

4- No consultancy can guarantee visas and this is a common lie found in some firms. Be sure to make bank drafts and money orders to the name of the academic institutions you are applying to, or to the name of the consultant general who is issuing you a study or business visa.

5- Large sums of the money are charged in the firm of offer letters alone. An on-spot admission only guarantees offer letters issued by agents and not the university. Some consultants may ask you to submit the letter the embassy so that they can disappear, which is why their address and telephone numbers are changing continuously.

6- Try to avoid the agencies and consultancies which involve too many middlemen companies and agents. It is certain that if there are more middlemen involve, you are going to loose your money and there will be no one to claim it from. Just like the saying, “Too many cooks spoil the broth”.

Education is like the life blood for a country. Unfortunately, like many other institutions of our country, this line of work has also been corrupted and full of doubts. So students, teachers and families needs to be well prepared before they enter into this process.


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