Today, the Minister for Immigration and Security James Brokenshire presented a statement to Parliament on the abuse of student visas. It has been widely reported that migrants are taking fraudulent measures to obtain English language certificates. An estimated 50,000 international students have been found guilty of obtaining English language dishonestly and as a result the Home Office has suspended student sponsorship licences of three Universities in the UK, along with 57 private further education colleges. Back 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.
James Brokenshire: Criminal Investigation is now underway into ETS Global Ltd
Candidates sitting TOEIC tests, were accused by the BBC programme ‘Panorama’ of obtaining TOEIC accreditation dishonestly. Due to this the UK Home Office announced that it would not be extending its contract with the global testing giant ETS earlier this year. James Brokenshire, has said following allegations made in the BBC 1 programme, a criminal investigation is now underway into ETS Global Ltd.
“Facilitated by organised criminals, this typically involved invigilators supplying, even reading out, answers to whole exam rooms or gangs of imposters being allowed to step into the exam candidates’ places to sit the test. Evidently this could only happen with considerable collusion by the test centres concerned.”
As a result of this investigation, Glyndwr University has has its sponsor licence suspended. It has been found that the number of students sponsored by the University with invalid language test results stands at more than 230. University of Bedfordshire and University of West London, have also had their licences suspended, whilst the investigation continues. Along with a further 57 private colleges in the UK having their licences removed.
IELTS, or Pearson Test for English, to confirm their admission and entry into UK
During an enquiry into the student visa system it was found that an estimated 30,000 language certificates were found to be invalid, while a further 19,000 are said to have questionable results. 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.