Job Applicants, Verify Your Degree With Me. Employers in UK? Most Don’t Bother To Check

Job Applicants, Verify Your Degree With Me. Employers in UK? Most Don’t Bother To Check

My work as a Notary Public involves a great deal of verification of paperwork. Boring, you think? Depends on your mind-set, you could consider it quite exciting. Detective work, sometimes.

What I am doing is important and could in the worst cases save companies from financial disaster.

I do tend to find that prospective employers in England seem to take a relaxed attitude to the question of prior verification of the academic qualifications and previous job references of job applicants.

The attitude seems to be, Candidate A seemed very bright and dressed smartly – OK you can start on Monday. Put the reference letters in the desk drawer.

And if Candidate A can do the job well, what’s the problem if the paperwork is forged?

There was, I understand, a “Doctor” struck off the register in Bradford years ago, who had been practising as a GP for over fifteen years. He apparently had a basic training in pharmacy but was never trained or qualified as a doctor in any Country. His patients seemed to stay alive for as long as most Doctors’ patients. No harm done?

Not really. It would just take one misdiagnosis, one tragedy, perhaps just one mistake in a difficult diagnosis that even a real Doctor might also have made, and the financial compensation claims against the relevant Trust don’t bear thinking about.

I can see that it must be very frustrating, looking at matters from the job applicant’s point of view, if the advertisement for your dream job says “Minimum qualification a 2:1 Degree”. And you only have a 2:2. And you know that you were only five points off a 2:1 anyway.

And maybe they think it over and say – what does my Degree matter anyway? I am bright and clever and I will work really hard and learn to do the job just as well as if I had the better Degree. And anyway, a person like Lord Sugar has no academic papers to his name, but is one of the biggest business successes Britain has seen. So, what do exams matter?

The answer to that is – First, there is no person LIKE Lord Sugar, and secondly, the question you should be asking is, what does dishonesty matter?

What does it matter? Leaving philosophy to one side, the practical answer is it can ruin careers. Here is an example – Link Here

Business consultants can be found disagreeing with each other all over the internet as to whether it is best to hire a “blank slate” and train on site – for example the apprenticeship model – or go for the fully qualified candidate with a successful record of work already established. But none of them suggest that Businesses should hire liars.

No, degree verification is about weeding out crooks and liars, those applicants who have decided to trick prospective employers. And if they are dishonest as to their attainments, what are the chances they will become honest employees if they get the job?

So as for the English practice of keeping the references in the desk drawer, in my view, if an employer doesn’t check references until after the candidate gas engineer has exploded a house or two then that employer deserves everything he is going to get.

But one can sympathise – Most humans are disposed to be trusting. If a person looks OK, they are OK, right? Which is exactly what the crook and the con man knows and profits from.

I was going to include links to websites where you can buy fake degrees. But then I thought again – since these sites are obviously run by crooks, there will probably be all kinds of viruses to be caught from them. Don’t click.

But if you put a google search for “Where to buy a Fake Degree” – Wow

From one of them – and I love the university level spelling – this tagline

Get Accredited Degree!
No Need to taky any exams or study, you can get real degree from real universities without opening a single book!

[No, really, DON’T].

There is a British organisation which verifies UK degrees, the Higher Education Degree Datacheck. It reports in a recent Blog that in September 2016 alone, it was instrumental in achieving the closure of seven fake Degree websites, including four purporting to be English Universities. For example, the non-existent Stafford University and University of Wolverhamton [no “p”].

But as fast as they are closed down, up pop some more. The educational diploma equivalent of “Whack-a-Mole”.

The point is I think, don’t be trusting. There are crooks about and you don’t want them in your business. Set a Notary on the trail!

And may I point out, the internet has not invented this sort of thing, just made it easier.

After the end of the USA Civil War in the 1870s and taking advantage of the chaos that the fighting had caused, (Medical Licensing was pretty much non-existent) one John Buchanan made a fortune printing and selling fake diplomas. At least he had to good grace to drown himself when he was caught. His modern equivalents make billions worldwide and when they are caught, just start again.

Ironically, it seems his activities may have been a prime cause of US Government recognition that the creation and implementation of State Regulation of physicians, and then other professions, was essential

More here on this link.

The problem is real and there is a thorny dilemma at the root of it. –

An Education cannot be an end in itself for most of us. We cannot be Monks. We cannot just study for the love of learning. We need a job and income. And increasingly, there is no job without a Degree. So for huge numbers of people around the world, it’s not the Education but the Degree Certificate, the piece of paper, which has value. And when a thing has huge value, people will take short cuts to get it.

So pass me that magnifying glass Watson, I need to check this paperwork.

How about a song?- link here I’ve Been Duped

And, as always, whenever you require any help with Notarisations and foreign legal documents, please do not hesitate to contact me or Louise Morley here at AtkinsonNotary [0113 816 0116 or and] where we shall be more than happy to assist further.

Thinking of Working in Qatar? Already working in Qatar? – then this is a must read…Louise Morley Explains

Thinking of Working in Qatar? Already working in Qatar? – then this is a must read…Louise Morley Explains

Qatar has very strict guidance on legalising Educational certificates. Legalisation is a necessary step to be taken before your qualifications will be accepted in Qatar.

Dealing with educational certificates for use in Qatar is a three step process:

1. Notarisation – First it is necessary for your Notary to Notarise your original or a copy of your certificates as GENUINE as he has verified. In order to verify, this means that we need to confirm with the educational institution(s) named in your certificate/s that they are indeed genuine. Each University or School has its own process of dealing with verification enquiries which we must follow. We are aware of the requirements of most of them.

2. Foreign Office Apostille – Once the verification has been received by us we can Notarise and then the certificate(s) need to be sent to the Foreign Office for an Apostille stamp [this stamp confirms that Mr Atkinson really has signed the paper and that he is a qualified Notary in England with the necessary professional insurance].

3. Qatar Consular Legalisation. Finally the most complicated step! – Now to obtain the Qatar Government stamp or stamps.

The Embassy has recently announced that all education certificates in the form of:-
Degrees, Diplomas, BA/BSc, M.A and PhDs issued by schools outside the State of Qatar which are submitted for stamping after Notarisation and Apostilles have been obtained, must be supported by the two items listed below:

1. Supported Transcript or equivalent. This is the written statement which your educational provider will have given you with your Degree, giving more details of the subjects covered and the exam standards attained.

2. A covering letter from the issuing educational provider which MUST confirm the following six bullet points:
• The qualification/certificate authenticity
• The mode of study and the type of study: whether full time/part time or distance learning (e-Learning)
• The place of study and the place of the examinations held
• The awarded title of the issued Degree etc
• The duration of the course studied
• The actual dates of study (start date and end date)

Also please note that for each of the two additional items above, they too must be Notarised and then attested by the Apostille, in the same way as the actual Degree/Primary qualification certificate.

Qatar also states that any certificate issued via distance learning or an online program will NOT be accepted for attesting as this is not in line with the rules of The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Doha.

So to summarise, – for each Degree or Diploma certificate you require attesting – it needs to be accompanied by the corresponding transcript or equivalent and also a covering letter issued from the educational institution confirming the 6 bullet points above. Qatar will not legalise without all the documentation being present and they may even still ask for more if they are not satisfied.

Our advice is that if you are planning on working in Qatar then the documentation you submit to prove your required qualification should be kept to the necessary minimum. Remember, each Degree Certificate/Diploma etc needs to be accompanied by the Transcript/or equivalent and cover letter from Educational institution – and as such each document needs to be Apostilled and the Foreign Office fee for every Apostille is £30.

We have recently also heard from one of our fellow Notary colleagues that if you are intending to work in Qatar long-term or are currently working in Qatar and intending to stay, that this documentation needs to be submitted annually – that is, yes, do it all again every year!

However please note that after we have carried out this process for you once, then to submit annually should pretty much be straight forward since we do keep full records of all Notarisation and verifications we carry out and we also keep clean scans of any certificates which we Notarise and legalise – which means that if we have verified your certificate once then there is no need for us to verify every year – the answer will be same! So it should simply be a case of printing the clean scans then Notarising as genuine again with the new date and then submit for steps 2 and 3. However, we do presume that an updated verification letter from the school will also be required annually.

A further point to note is that the position is fluid, the Qatar rules are new and already there have been several changes.

There are fees to pay for the Qatari legalisation stamps and we have not printed them in this Blog because they are changing so regularly that if you read this in a few weeks’ time, anything we quote today will likely be out of date.

I have tried to keep this Blog as straightforward as possible – but as you can see it is not straightforward to submit English academic documents for use in Qatar and I am very happy to assist if you are currently working in Qatar or are planning to. Get in touch and we will explain how matters stand up to date.

Contact us to discuss and/or book your appointment with us, at AtkinsonNotary [0113 816 0116 or]

Life Sentences for Dangerous Drivers Who Kill. What Do You Think?

Life Sentences for Dangerous Drivers Who Kill. What Do You Think?

Welcome to my first Blog of 2017.

News this week of plans of the Ministry of Justice for the maximum prison sentence available to Judges for the offences of causing death by dangerous driving and of causing death by careless driving whilst under the influence of drink or drugs.

At present the maximum sentence for both offences is fourteen years jail time.

The proposal is a new maximum of life imprisonment.

Link here

As the government website says, in 2015 at least 143 deaths were caused by dangerous driving, or by careless driving by drinker/drug users.

Notwithstanding that the maximum sentence for these drivers was 14 years as stated, in fact the average prison sentence imposed was under 4 years. No doubt several of those sentences were suspended.

The express hope of the Ministry is that a much increased maximum will filter through to the mind-set of Judges, tending to an increase in that 4 year average sentence.

You may have an opinion: if so, you can take part in an online “consultation” – link here.

My take on this [it’s hardly as thought out as to be actually an opinion] is that death on the road is such an emotive tragedy that few people, if any, can take an objective view.  For example, it is rare that the family of the driver will agree with the family of the deceased about sentencing.

And I also fail to understand the legal significance of death being involved as an element of the sentence. Or indeed, of the need for the offences at all. If the death was actually intended, surely the charge should be murder?

Or, if the driving was such that its consequences could include death as any reasonable person would realise, then the element of recklessness would justify a charge of manslaughter?

And tell me, if a dangerous driver, or a drunk/drugged careless one is lucky enough not to cause a death – why is that relevant? If nobody died this time, they might next time, so why on earth not impose the life sentence now?

All a bit grim for a New Year blog.

To lighten the mood, here are a few road traffic reports this century culled from the media by my fellow Notary Dr John Kirkwood.

2016 Wenzhou China. Police stopped Mr Wu while he was driving. He was attached to a medical intravenous drip system and talking on his mobile at the same time. In his defence he said he was good at multitasking.

2006 England. Mr Omed Aziz stopped by traffic police in the Midlands for dangerous driving. On being asked to remove his dark glasses the police discovered he had no eyes. Link here. [And a more deserving candidate for a life imprisonment sentence could hardly be imagined? No need for someone to die before potting him I would have thought?]

2004 Australia. Mr Collinson prosecuted for driving without a licence. His defence was “necessity”. There was, he said, an urgent need to deliver condoms to his cousin. Too much information?

2005 England. Sarah McCaffery convicted and fined £60 for driving round a bend with an apple in her hand. 10 Court hearings, evidence from a police spotter plane and helicopter and video from a police car. Total cost to secure a conviction – £10,000.00. Well, yes, that’s what the papers said – typical link here. Although this case resulted in questions in the House of Lords where the costs of the helicopter element were stated to be a somewhat more modest £425. Link here.

2010 Scotland. Michael Mancini stationary in traffic, car in neutral and handbrake on. Pulled out a tissue to blow his nose. Signalled into a parking bay by PC Gray who said he was failing to control his vehicle. Fined £60 and licence endorsed. Link here [case was eventually dropped after appeal]

2013 Scotland. Ronald Gell claimed he had not been driving under the influence since his dog was driving. Link here

Mr Tichenor – Defence – driving 112 mph to attend court to pay a speeding fine. Link here.

I suspect the last two gentlemen were not taking the police, or their own predicaments, too seriously.

Only one song suggests itself, link here

Here at AtkinsonNotary, we don’t deal with motoring cases [we can put you in touch with Solicitors who do, of course.] But when you need your papers properly presented for use abroad, book your appointment with us, at AtkinsonNotary [0113 816 0116 or] where we shall be more than happy to assist.

Happy New Year to you.