After our panel this week I became really interested in agencies and how many institutions were becoming visa mills for students. The panelist spoke about how it is easier to work with an outside agency because having a department specifically for helping the students with obtaining a visa can be time consuming but also very costly. Though the agencies do alleviate some stress on institutions they also can cause much harm if the agency is granting visa unlawfully. I recently read an article that the accrediting agency ACICS has recently been responsible for accrediting agencies generating false visas. Institutions and even administrators have gotten in trouble for going along with these agencies and even stated the CEO of Herguan College of Sunnydale California was incarcerated for immigration fraud. It is sad to see that higher education is being used as a money mill by giving these students false hope. I recently worked with a student in my office who told me she attended an institution that was closed down for immigration fraud. Due to the accusations we were not recognizing the institution or its credits. She was very upset because she had spent many years at the institution and felt that her money was lost. Agencies and institutions who involve themselves with these practices do not realize the harm they can cause students who are not even requesting the visas.
It was also brought to my attention that this impedes foreign universities working with new institutions. They are more skeptical about working with new agencies who claim they are going to help students with the visa process because it could be a scam. The agencies that have been successful in the past now will receive more business but this could make wait times longer for visas and delay the students from coming to the United States to begin their course work. I feel that accrediting agencies should be more specific about what criteria agencies and institutions need to have. There should also be thorough check ups throughout the year so that this is not found out years later where it effects so many students. In the future it would be nice to see one agency with multiple locations working on visa accomidations for students who wish to come study in the United States. This will allow for less errors and more eyes available to check that regulations are being met.