Qatar makes it harder to fake education credentials
Photo for illustrative purposes only Michael Long/Flickr
Qatar’s government has rolled out new requirements to prove one’s higher education credentials.
The move appears to be an effort to curb fraud, but has also made it difficult for qualified grads to find work or change jobs in the country.
Graduates of foreign universities are now required to obtain a letter from their institutions confirming specific details about their courses before receiving approval for a residence permit.
Cover letter template shared with the Filipino community Philippines Embassy/Facebook
Additionally, Qatar will no longer allow companies here to hire grads who have studied for all or part of their degrees online, new government guidelines reveal.
The stipulations are in addition to existing rules that require expats to have degrees and transcripts attested by their own government and the Qatar embassy in their home country.
Speaking to Doha News this week, many people said they have been struggling with the process since it was implemented in June.
Some are clients of Venture Partner Qatar, a company that helps investors set up businesses here.
The firm’s General Manager Dale Ashford told Doha News that the government began rejecting job applicants’ degree certificates when the new rules took effect a few months ago.
There was no grace period after the government issued a circular on June 1, he added.
The following is a copy of the circular issued by the Qatar Embassy in London, detailing the new rules:
Circular issued by the Qatar Embassy in London via vpqatar.com
Additional information can be found here, courtesy of the Philippines Embassy in Doha.
According to Ashford, obtaining a letter from one’s alma matar will be tricky for many, particularly if they left college some time ago:
“There are many questions concerning the ‘statement’ on behalf of the University/Institution, not least, who will prepare it. This is something entirely new for them and will entail a considerable amount of work. Presumably, some form of charge will have to be levied for this.
There will also be other issues, depending on the age of the applicant, such as universities closing or merging and so forth.”
Expats already in Qatar would most likely have to pay agencies to help them complete the attestation process in their home countries “at quite a cost,” he added.
Additionally, he said the new ban on distance learning degrees will cause significant problems for many job applicants, particularly Master’s students, who often study online.
Because the new regulations were introduced without warning or publicity, they have caught many by surprise.
Melissa Paterson Hernandez, an American expat who works in higher education in Qatar, said the changes have made it even more difficult for her husband to find work here.
Also an American citizen who works in education, he currently lives and works in Abu Dhabi.
Photo for illustrative purposes only. Damon McDonald/Flickr
The couple fly regularly between the two countries to try to co-parent their four-year-old daughter.
Hernandez said she has been trying to get her husband’s Master’s in Business and Bachelor’s degrees attested for over a year so that he can get a job in Qatar, but keeps encountering obstacles:
“He took some online courses in his MBA degree in the USA, so it will not be accepted (under the new rules). Now we are trying to get his undergraduate degree in Mexico attested,” she said.
“But there is no operational Qatar Consulate in Mexico (they say they cannot attest documents), so we were told just to get everything done at the UAE consulate in Mexico instead.”
The couple have so far paid around US$2,000 to try to complete the attestation process, but must now go back to the drawing board due to the new requirements.
Photo for illustrative purposes only. Heather/Flickr
Even if they manage to assemble all of the documents and get the necessary approvals, Hernandez said she is uncertain that Qatari authorities will accept documents stamped by a UAE Embassy.
“I am not sure if it is even worth it. We were trying to have his degree ready for when he did find a job he could just bring the paperwork with him.
But now since the rules change so often we will just wait until he can find a job and then pray that we can somehow get what he needs.”
While the new regulations may seem unnecessarily onerous, they are being introduced in response to an apparent proliferation of fake degree certificates in Qatar.
Last year, Dr. Khalid Al Jaber, former Editor-in-Chief of the Peninsula, asserted that forged certificates had “literally invaded the local market” and stated that “hardly any sector was safe from this threat.”
Photo for illustrative purposes only. USAID Guatemala/Flickr
To combat the problem, Al Jaber suggested that fraudulent engineers, doctors and accountants be publicly named and shamed.
Qatari authorities take this kind of fraud very seriously. Last year, an Indian expat was sentenced to three years in jail for faking a degree to help him get a promotion at work.
However, Hernandez said that she is doubtful that the new rules will actually help tackle fraud:
“Chances are the same people who are faking degrees will also fake all of these new requirements anyway. So in the meantime, good people with legitimate degrees are being turned away.”
By Kate Southam, CareerOne Editor
While it is not as long, a cover letter requires the same attention as preparing a curriculum vitae or resume.
The role of your cover letter is to ensure your resume gets read. Job applications are scanned in seconds by a human eye or a piece of software. In both cases the reader is looking to see if your skills and experience match the criteria detailed in a job ad.
Your first step in writing a cover letter should be to go through the job ad and underline the key words used by the employer/recruiter. As long as you can back up your claims, try to use these words in your cover letter.
A cover letter should not regurgitate your CV. It should zero why you are a good match for the job role in just three or four paragraphs.
It’s also vital that your cover letter is tailored to each job you’re going for. If at all possible, personalise the letter using the relevant manager or recruitment consultant’s name. Place the name of recipient, their title, company name and address in the left hand corner.
Employers/recruiters hate to receive a formula letter – particularly when the applicant has forgotten to change the name from the last employer they applied to so triple check these details.
Use simple language and the same font and style as your resume. The experts recommend using a font that is easy to read such as 11 point Arial as well as A4 white paper for hard copies of your cover letter.
Include a date, your name and contact details so your cover letter and resume can be reunited if they get separated in the potential employer's office.
The opening paragraph should state the job you are going for and the fact you are confident you are suited to the role. For example, “I was interested to see your advertisement seeking a new customer service consultant as I believe my skills and experience are a good fit for the role.”
Paragraph two should tell the reader why he or she should be interested in you. It might read something like, “Please find a copy of my resume attached but of particular relevance is my x years experience in x and my qualifications in A,B,C.”
A third paragraph could be used to highlight a career achievement or two of particular relevance to the job. The last paragraph should bring the letter to a polite close. For example, “I hope to have an opportunity to meet with you in person to discuss how I could contribute to your team. Yours sincerely.”
Stress what you can do for the potential employer, not why their company would be good for your career.
It's vital that you check the letter for mistakes. Ask a friend or family member to proof read the letter before you email or post it. Sign hard copies.
You will also find sample cover letters in the Resume and Letters section of Career Advice.
Article from CareerOne.com.au