The Guardian newspaper has reported this week that the Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC) is the latest Immigration
scandal in the pipeline. The news report calls for the Home Office to act now to avoid a similar claims debacle to that created by the Immigration
hostile environment policy and the aftermath of Windrush.
Could the effects of TOEIC be as bad as Windrush? Most people would like to think of Windrush as a one off, a combination of an unfortunate hostile environment Immigration
policy, harried officials and lost paperwork. That combination won't happen again, will it? Whilst the top London immigration solicitors
would like to think not, some of the best London immigration solicitors
say that the EU Settlement Scheme has all the same potential hallmarks of Windrush. Only time will tell about how effective the EU Settlement Scheme will be, but in the meantime, there are calls for the Home Office to address TOEIC.
The statistics behind TOEIC are:
• Approximately 34,000 students have had their Student Visas
• Over 1,000 people were removed from the UK.
How can OTS Solicitors help?
Are you worried about your Immigration
status as you passed a TOIEC test? Are you encountering difficulties with the Home Office with your visa application or extension application? If so, OTS Solicitors can help you.
English Language testing and the TOEIC test
According to the Guardian newspaper report, thousands of students who, as part of their immigration application
process, sat the Home Office required English test at approved testing centres were accused of cheating on the test. Furthermore, those students are said to still be the subject of enquiries by Home Office Immigration
enforcement officers. Some of those enquiries have led to the enforced removal of migrants from the UK.
The top London immigration solicitors
recall the Panorama programme that led to the Home Office making wide scale accusations of cheating against students who had gone to approved Home Office centres to sit the TOEIC test as part of their student visa
renewal application process. The programme covertly recorded cheating taking place in two testing centres.
The public may question why, if the Panorama programme only established through their undercover reporting cheating taking place in two of the centres, why so many students have had accusations of what is essentially dishonesty made against them. The best London immigration solicitors
say that the answer lies in the government decision to ask the American company that administered the test, Educational Testing Service (ETS), to review the testing. The company carried out voice analysis of recordings of all the nearly 60,000 tests taken in 96 test centres in the UK in the three-year period between 2011 and 2014. The company determined that 33,725 people had cheated on the TOEIC test and worryingly a further 22,694 visa applicants were said to have questionable TOEIC test results. That meant only about 2,000 students were said not to have cheated on the TOEIC test.
For those accused of cheating, the accusations were not only personally offensive, but for some resulted in:
• The refusal or curtailment of their visa, with the Home Office advising that there is no right of appeal;
• Enforcement action by Home Office caseworkers;
• The operation of the hostile environment policy preventing them from being able to work or to rent accommodation or open a bank account, whilst they fought to clear their name.
The top London immigration solicitors and many of the students caught up in the TOEIC testing scandal acknowledge the importance of the Panorama programme that revealed:
• That at one test centre an invigilator was reading out the answers to the multiple choice TOEIC questions;
• Replacement test candidates were sitting the TOEIC test in place of the real visa applicants with exam invigilators being aware that the “students’’ sitting the examination were not genuine.
However, the best London immigration solicitors
and campaign groups complain that not all students can be labelled as “cheats’’ for sitting the approved TOEIC tests in approved Home Office centres, unless there is specific evidence against the individual students.
As the concerns mount about the operation of the hostile environment policy and its impact on:
• The Windrush victims;
• Those accused of making incorrect tax return entries resulting in immigration application
refusals without opportunity to explain discrepancies in tax figures or provide explanations;
• Those seeking to rent accommodation and facing discrimination by private property owners because of the extra paperwork imposed on property owners renting houses to migrants.
An all-party parliamentary group has been set up to campaign on the issue of the students affected by the TOEIC tests. The first meeting is due to be held in May with members of parliament planning to speak to students, London immigration solicitors
judges. Campaigners are hopeful that the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid will respond positively to end the plight of the students unwittingly caught up in the TOEIC testing scandal.
The best London immigration solicitors
say that the TOEIC scandal is twofold. Firstly, the revelations by the Panorama programme of cheating, with the involvement of some invigilators. Secondly, the subsequent five-year government response to the cheating allegations and the wide scale impact on classifying many individual students as cheats on their lives, at a time when the government is keen to attract international students to the UK given the benefits of students to the UK economy.
How can OTS Solicitors help?
If you are worried about your Immigration
status as you passed a TOIEC test or if you are encountering difficulties with the Home Office over your visa application or extension application then OTS Solicitors can help you.
Central London based OTS Solicitors are specialists in Immigration law
matters and are recommended for Immigration law
in the Legal 500. OTS Solicitors have Law Society accredited solicitors status as trusted specialists in Immigration law
The specialist immigration lawyers
are highly experienced in making all types of visa applications and in helping applicants who have had previous visa applications refused. The team can also apply to extend visas.
OTS Solicitors are used to dealing with the complex Home Office immigration rules
, regulations, and the issues surrounding the TOEIC test. By using a top London Immigration
solicitor to sort out your visa or to challenge a Home Office ruling you stand the best prospects of success.
For help with your Immigration status, visa application , to challenge a Home Office ruling or for advice on any aspect of personal or business immigration law please call us on 0203 959 9123 to arrange an appointment to speak to one of our experienced London immigration solicitors who will be happy to help.