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Overseas students wrongly deported?

09 May 2018

Many thousands of overseas students could be entitled to compensation after a landmark immigration tribunal ruling.

Theresa May, as Home Secretary, may have wrongly deported up to 7,000 international students after an English language test cheating scam.

Most of the students involved were not allowed to appeal the Home Office decision or even show their proficiency in English.

Some of these students were detained by officials, lost their jobs, and left homeless as a result. All despite the fact that they were in the UK legally.

After allegations on national television of systematic cheating at some colleges where students sat the Test of English for International Communication the UK government ‘acted’. It brought in a US-based company (ETS) to run analysis on the tests. Some 33,725 individual tests were deemed ‘invalid’ and these students’ visas were revoked. Another 22,694 tests were classed ‘questionable’. These students were invited to an interview, and by the end of 2016 nearly 36,000 overseas students had had their visas revoked.

However, in later checks the US-companies computer programmes was found not to be perfect, and in fact wrong in 20% of cases. This lead to some students taking their case to an immigration appeals tribunal, which said the evidence used by the Home Office to revoke visas could be seen as having “multiple frailties and shortcomings”.

A Home Office spokeswomen said: “In February 2014, investigations into the abuse of English language testing revealed systemic cheating, which was indicative of large scale organised fraud. The government took immediate robust action on this, which has been measured and proportionate, and so far 21 people have received criminal convictions for their role in this deception.

“There is no limit on the number of genuine international students who can come to study in the UK, nor is there any intention to impose one.”

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