Montreal

EMSB takes 'swift action' after allegations of misleading South Korean students

The English Montreal School Board is distancing itself from an international student recruiter after being dragged into a growing controversy in South Korea.

School board says it’s suspending relationship with agent who made false promises to international students

EMSB chair Angela Mancini said the school board would never make any promises to international students about visas, immigration status or employment. (CBC)

The English Montreal School Board is distancing itself from an international student recruiter after being dragged into a growing controversy in South Korea.

Several former South Korean students told a local news agency they paid an agent acting on behalf of the EMSB to attend vocational schools in Montreal.

They allege the agent promised visas that would allow them to work and eventually apply for permanent residency. But upon arriving in Montreal, they said that was not the case and some ended up working illegally for less than minimum wage. 

On Monday the EMSB issued a news release saying it "is taking swift action."

"These are very serious things for us," said Angela Mancini, chair of the EMSB.

"We're not in the business of misleading the public and it's not something the school board wants to be involved in."

She said the school board uses agents to get information to students abroad about their vocational programs. After the school board was informed of the allegations, they suspended their relationship with the South Korean agent involved, Mancini said.

The school board also discovered the agent had created an "EMSB Korea" website without their knowledge or permission. The site would direct people to the EMSB's main web page.

Mancini said the promises were made by the agent and that the school board would never make any promises about visas, immigration status or employment.

The English Montreal School Board discovered the recruting agent had created an “EMSB Korea” website without their knowledge or permission. (CBC)

Investigation launched

Part of the funding for the student's studies at the EMSB came from the provincial government of Gyeonggi, which is just outside of the capital city of Seoul.

According to Mancini, the students never actually attended an EMSB vocational school. Instead, after arriving in Montreal, they chose to study English at a private school.

"If they don't come to our school we're going to refund them," she said. "But we no longer have anything to do with what happens to them."

The school board is verifying that the money was returned to the South Korean students. 

Mancini said they have launched an investigation along with the South Korean government to figure out what happened.

"We want to make sure we have no other situations on our hands."

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