Agent Governance in Student Recruitment

A Code for Vetting and Management of Abcodo Agents
and Code of Conduct for Abcodo Agents
By MSM Unify and Abcodo

With the increasing reliance on education agents for international student recruitment in higher education, we abide by a governance code that outlines vetting and management of all of the education agents utilizing our Platform, whether GMO, Abocodo, or other (collectively “Abcodo Agents”) and the code of conduct or ethical principles for Abcodo Agents.

This involves thorough coordination, constant monitoring, and relational contractual governance to ensure full compliance to policies and prevent misrepresentation, acts of fraud and deceit, and violations of institutions’ contractual rights. These practices also help mitigate risks around the institutions’ brand reputation in a global market.

Company Background

MSM Unify and Abcodo are backed by a global organization with a strong foundation of supporting education agents in their growth and development through network building, training, and ongoing support in crucial functions such as applications to institutions and institution invoicing. This strong support emerges from a commitment to deploy only the best, most qualified and experienced recruitment professionals to higher education institutions (HEIs) we work with.

We are affiliated with 4,500 agents around the world, including in India, Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Rwanda, Philippines, Vietnam, Mexico, Brazil, Canada, Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda, Tanzania, Morocco, Senegal, Cameroon, Mauritius, South Africa, and many more.

Agent Vetting Process
  1. A prospective Abcodo Agent typically gets onboard with Abcodo through five general steps:
    1. The agent hears about MSM Unify / Abcodo and connects with us through one of our local managers or admissions partners.
    2. We schedule a meeting with the agent and present the benefits of being an Abcodo Agent.
    3. If interested, the agent fills out an Abcodo Agent Evaluation Form and submits all the required documents and necessary industry references.
    4. We conduct a comprehensive reference and background check of the agent.
    5. The agent signs up to be an Abcodo Agent through the MSM Unify Platform following the procedures laid out therein.
  2. Prospective agents are required to provide proof of Business Registration or Business License.
  3. Prospective agents must share photographs of their physical office premises.
  4. Prospective agents must provide two (2) independent institutional references based on the pool of institutions to which they have already recruited students.
Ethical Standards
  1. Regular monitoring ensures that Abcodo Agents follow all protocols and ethical practices laid out on MSM Unify, including the following:
    1. All Abcodo Agents should operate within an underlying ethical framework of:
      1. Integrity – Being straightforward and honest in all professional and business dealings at all times
      2. Objectivity – Preventing bias or conflict of interest from compromising professional judgment
      3. Competence – Maintaining professional service, skills, knowledge, and due diligence at all times
      4. Transparency – Disclosing any conflict of interest to clients, particularly around service fees charged to institutions and other parties such as students
      5. Confidentiality – Preserving the integrity and confidentiality of personal data and information, never releasing them to third parties without due permission or authorization
      6. Professional conduct – Consistently acting within the bounds of the laws and regulations in the industry
      7. Professionalism – Acting in a manner that serves the interests of institutions and the bigger industry, sometimes even at the cost of a degree of self-interest, in order to earn and maintain trust and respect
    2. All Abcodo Agents should practice sound, responsible business principles, including the following:
      1. Providing current, up-to-date, realistic, truthful information in an ethical way
      2. Using written agreements and providing an open trail of documentation to develop transparent business relationships with institutions and students
      3. Protecting and preserving the interests of minors
      4. Allowing prospective students to make informed and educated choices when selecting their agent or pursuing their application
      5. Share information and best practices to raise ethical standards across destination countries and markets
Agent Access and Interaction with Students on MSM Unify Platform
  1. The MSM Unify Platform recommends Abcodo Agents to students based on their performance and success rate in student visa approvals and enrolment.
  2. Current and future features of the MSM Unify Platform ensure security and genuine client identity.
    1. A real-time email verification system is in place to register students with the MSM Unify Platform. No two students can have the same email IDs.
    2. A One-Time Password (OTP) based verification system is in place to verify the students’ contact numbers. No two students can have the same contact numbers, prohibiting any potential attempts of Abcodo Agents to use their agency contacts.
    3. An AI-based facial recognition feature that matches the IELTS TRF photograph of the student with the one found on their passport is in the MSM Unify Platform development pipeline.
Agent Training and Development
  1. MSM Unify and Abcodo conduct regular, timely and continuing agent training programs (held face-to-face or online) to guide them in best industry practices.
  2. These subject-specific training for Abcodo Agents and counselors are led by experienced MSM teams and are free of charge for our affiliates’ continuing professional development.
  3. The training topics include but are not limited to the following:
    1. Matching students with the right programs, institutions, and/or destination countries based on their study interest, preferences, and circumstances
    2. Individual and institutional roles and responsibilities under laws on data protection and data privacy, anti-bribery, anti-corrupt practices, etc. in different countries and jurisdictions
    3. Abcodo Agent activity and working practices consistent with the code of ethics and guidance from each country or jurisdiction on working with international students
    4. Access to proper legal advice and information regarding agent relationships, with contracts detailing sufficient specification of behaviours and expectations
    5. Tailored marketing and communication strategies for agent support
    6. A healthy, continuing due diligence process via training, support, knowledge exchange, and performance improvement recommendations
Agent Discipline

An Abcodo Agent who fails to comply with, or violates any of the provisions of this Agent Governance in Student Recruitment, the Terms and Conditions when the Abcodo Agent signed up to become an Abcodo Agent and all other agreements and policies issued by Abcodo and MSM Unify, shall be subject to appropriate disciplinary action such as among others, additional trainings, suspension of Abcodo Agent’s services and the use or access to MSM Unify Platform and ultimately, termination of services as Abcodo Agent.

Data Security and Privacy Standards
  1. MSM Unify complies with or exceeds the data protection and privacy policies of all origin and destination countries.
  2. We strongly encourage our Abcodo Agents to familiarize themselves with these same policies to ensure that their data and the data of their students are kept private and secure at all times.