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Vaz Challenges Action on Students

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Keith Vaz MP

Keith Vaz MP says the Home Office move to deport thousands of students over language skills is questionable.  28,000 refusal, curtailment and removal decisions have been made in respect of ETS-linked cases and over 4,600 people have been removed from the UK. About 70% of those affected are Indians….reports Asian Lite News

Keith Vaz MP
Keith Vaz MP

Keith Vaz challenges the Home Office’s judgment in light of the “extraordinary” decision it took to deport thousands of people on questionable or insufficient evidence of English test fraud.

The Home Affairs Select Committee, Keith Vaz MP as Chair, said it must “seriously question” the Home Office’s judgment in light of the “extraordinary” decision it took to deport thousands of people on questionable or insufficient evidence of English test fraud.

It has undertaken to conduct a full inquiry into this issue, including procurement and licensing, investigations, inspections and how much money has been spent. As a starting point the Home Office must set out the process for out-of-country appeals (many were given no right of appeal before they were deported); the steps which will be taken to ensure a fair hearing; and whether this will include appellants being given access to the evidence against them.

An expert court witness raised serious – and unchallenged – questions over the reliability and accuracy of ETS’s analysis, and first did so well over a year ago. ETS itself, which has made millions of pounds in test fees in the three years of licensed operation, notably refused to provide any evidence in court.

28,000 refusal, curtailment and removal decisions have been made in respect of ETS-linked cases and over 4,600 people have been removed from the UK. Despite the number of people affected and the gravity of the situation, the Home Office was unable to say how many of the tests related to people not applying under the Tier 4 student visa process, how many cases relating to the ETS debacle were currently before a Tribunal, or how many ETS tests were found to be valid.

The Committee has launched a full inquiry into these matters.

Keith Vaz MP, Chair of the Committee, said: “We are deeply concerned with the arrests, dawn raids and aggressive deportations of students from outside the EU which have occurred following allegations of fraud at English language testing centres.

The Home Office appears not to have investigated English language testing fraud allegations themselves before undertaking heavy-handed action. Recent legal cases, with their damming criticisms from senior Judges, have opened the door to a mass of expensive and damaging litigation.

An estimated 70% of those affected are of Indian nationality, and this debacle comes at a time when Indian student numbers in the UK are declining. The UK risks causing extensive damage to its reputation as a leading destination for international study.”