Laws to name and shame qualification fraudsters a step closer

The National Council of Provinces is currently in the process of considering the National Qualifications Framework Amendment Bill.

Once adopted, the bill will officially be sent to President Cyril Ramaphosa to be signed into law.

The new bill aims to prevent South African individuals from misrepresenting their qualifications by allowing for the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) to establish and maintain separate registers for professional designations, misrepresented qualifications and fraudulent qualifications.

These registers will effectively ‘name and shame’ individuals and education providers who had been found to be holding or issuing at least one fraudulent qualification.

In addition to being included on these registers, the bill states that any person who fraudulently claims to have received a qualification is guilty of an offence and could face conviction.

Increase in background checks

According to the latest annual report by background screening company Managed Integrity Evaluation (MIE), there was an increase in the number of requested checks conducted in 2018.

“In terms of candidate screening, findings show that employers are becoming increasingly aware that qualification and criminal checks, alone, are not sufficient to gauge a candidate’s suitability,” said Michelle Baron-Williamson, CEO of MIE.

“As a result, there is growing market recognition on the importance of conducting employment history checks and comprehensive vetting of the candidate’s CV, whether for apart- or full-time appointment.”

Criminal checks

  • Criminal record checks remain the most requested check within MIE;
  • Of the 778,319 criminal checks conducted by MIE in 2018, 9.96% were found to have associated risk, where a candidate either has a criminal or a pending criminal record;
  • 7% of people whose criminal record check was done either lied about having a criminal record or did not know they have a criminal record.

Qualification checks

  • Qualification(s) are still the most likely aspect of a candidate’s CV to contain discrepancies;
  • Of the 530,161 qualification verifications conducted by MIE in 2018 – 13.35% were found to be either misrepresented, fraudulent or cancelled;
  • The Financial Services industry presented the highest number of requests for qualification checks – this trend is also in keeping with regulation changes and adoption in the industry.

Credit Checks

  • Risk associated with credit checks saw a y-o-y growth to 19.05% (from 18.08% in 2017);
  • 2018 data saw a decrease in the number of credit checks conducted by MIE, (361 545 down from 394 988 in 2017). This is due to amendments to the NCA and other market legislation changes (including POPI).

Read: Why online biographies are more critical than CVs

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Laws to name and shame qualification fraudsters a step closer