In February this year BBC Panorama broadcasted a programme highlighting the fraudulent measures that visa applicants take when sitting English language tests. The Educational Testing Services‘ (ETS) is no longer offering Test of English as Foreign Language (TOEFL) and Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC) for U.K. visa-granting purposes. The expiry of the ETS licence with the Home Office was made public on 17 April 2014. This is due to allegations made in BBC’s Panorama programme. According to the UK Government website, they want to ensure that this change does not have an impact on genuine international students who have taken an ETS test before the licence expired. This means that UK Visas and Immigration will accept visa applications which relied on an ETS certificate issued before the expiry of the licence on 17 April 2014.
Visa Applicants accused of taking fraudulent measures to obtain TOEIC Accreditation
Allegations towards candidates sitting TOEIC tests, were accused of going to fraudulent measures by the BBC programme to obtain TOEIC accreditation. Due to this the UK Home Office announced that it would not be extending its contract with the global testing giant ETS.
According to the U.K. Council for International Student Affairs’ official website:
“ETS is no longer providing TOEIC and TOEFL tests for people who want to use them in support of U.K. immigration applications. This is because of allegations of fraud. The Home Office has been investigating the allegations of fraud and decided that in future it will change the list of English language test certificates that are acceptable in support of U.K. immigration applications. So that ETS tests are not included.”
It should be noted that the TOEFL test was never under question. In fact TOEFL test remains a widely respected English language test around the world, being recognized by more than 9,000 institutions in more than 130 countries.
IELTS, or Pearson Test for English, to confirm their admission and entry into UK
It has been suggested that students should write to the institution of their choice and request that they conduct another English language test called IELTS, or Pearson Test for English, to confirm their admission and entry into UK.
Although there have been complaints in the change in tests by students, who complain that the fee that they paid for the TOEFL test, will now have to pay around the same fee for the taking IELTS.
“IELTS is a written test whereas TOEFL is a computer-based test. Preparation for both requires different expertise. Those who were taking TOEFL coaching will now have to shell out more than Rs 15,000 to enroll themselves for a new coaching programme,” said Pasupula Madhavi of I20Fever, a city-based overseas education guidance centre.”
Are you affected by the Home Office’s ‘English Language Requirement’?
If you would like to discuss how the English language requirement may affect you, call one of our immigration solicitors in London who will be able to assist you by meeting with you and reviewing your case. There are many providers but many have had their visas refused for taking tests with rogue providers. Contact us/instruct us so we can review your case and ensure you have the correct documentary evidence in place in this regard.