You can now face jail time for lying on your CV
Providing false information on your CV about your qualifications can now land you in jail. Inaccurate claims about your degree on social media can also have legal consequences. With these updates in South Africa’s National Qualifications Framework (NQF), it’s more important than ever to ensure that all the information on your CV and social profiles is correct.
National Qualifications Framework Amendment Act
The National Qualifications Framework Amendment Act was put in place during the second last week of August 2019, after obtaining approval from Parliament. The Act includes transgressions relating to fraudulent educational institutes as well as people who provide incorrect information about their qualifications. The details are extensive enough to include almost all false claims about educational qualifications. Any person falsely claiming to have a tertiary qualification can be fined or face up to five years in prison. Inflating your actual qualifications on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter can also get you in trouble.
Anyone can report a person for making these false claims. Reports can be made to the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) who will investigate it and pass it on to prosecutors if a transgression is discovered. SAQA will keep a register of people who have falsified information about their qualifications.
Not everyone who has a fraudulent degree is at fault. In some cases, they are the victim of an illegal educational institution. This happens when a person attends an educational institution believing that they are studying towards a valid qualification. The people running these fraudulent institutions can also be given a jail sentence of up to five years. False assertions that the educational institution is registered can result in prosecution under the new law. Not only does this act protect employers, but it also maintains the validity of genuine educational institutions that provide authentic degrees.
CV advice for jobseekers
When you’re writing your CV, double-check that all the information is correct. Don’t be tempted to provide false information even if you are desperate for a job. Not only can you end up facing legal consequences, but it will also ruin your chances of getting hired if your prospective employer finds out. If you’re hired under false pretences, it’s likely that you won’t have the skills and knowledge to succeed in your new role, which will result in problems at work.
Advice for companies
Employers can protect themselves against deceitful job applicants by conducting a background check before hiring new employees. This should include investigating the candidate’s previous jobs and responsibilities and double-checking their qualifications. It’s also advisable for employers to check that the candidate does not have a criminal record.
Common CV lies in South Africa
The high unemployment rate in South Africa has resulted in an increased amount of people providing false information on their CVs out of desperation to find work. There is a rising number of people lying about their qualifications and a large number of employers having to report fraudulent claims.
Common lies on CVs include:
- Non-existent matric certificates
- Fake certificates, diplomas or degrees
- Unfinished certificates, diplomas or degrees
- Job titles
- Period of employment
- Reason for leaving previous employers
- Employment history
Now that you know more about the consequences of lying about your qualifications, you can double-check that all the information on your CV and online profiles is correct.
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