Sweden has seen a surge in fake educational certificates in fields such as law, medicine, and teaching, with up to 60 per cent of the documents originating in Syria.
Investigators at the Swedish University and Higher Education Council say that since the height of the migrant crisis in 2015, there have been dozens of reports of fake educational documents, with some of the forgeries being very sophisticated.
“Many counterfeits are really sophisticated and can be difficult to detect. It is important to know what you are looking for,” Cecilia Ulfsdotter, the head of unit at the Swedish Council for Higher Education, told SVT on Tuesday.
According to the broadcaster, since 2015, dozens of cases of alleged fake educational documents were reported. In 2018, the reports totalled over 100, with at least 75 per cent being Syrian in origin.
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) November 3, 2016
This week, SVT reported that a Syrian woman working at a preschool in Södertälje was arrested and convicted for having purchased a fake teaching certificate that she had bought a few years after arriving in Sweden from Syria where she had trained as a tour guide.
Investigators who review foreign educational documents had suspected her certificate might be forged after translating it. They reported the woman to the police, and she later confessed she had bought the certificate for around 4,000 Swedish kronor (£343/$477).
In 2016, a Swedish Medical Board report found that only 16 per cent of migrant doctors they tested were qualified to practice medicine after subjecting them to tests designed to examine their knowledge and skills.
Just two years later, in the UK, a 55-year-old woman was found to have been practising psychiatry for 22 years after falsely claiming to have a medical degree from Auckland University in New Zealand. It was later revealed that she had dropped out in her first year and had made attempts to steal from her patients, as well.