The Home Secretary Theresa May is currently under scrutiny after it was discovered that she allegedly wrongly deported almost 50,000 international students. This came after one school, out of hundreds, was found guilty for an English test cheating scam and as a result, it was used to incriminate all who sat the test.
After a BBC Panorama documentary in February 2014, it was stated that the Home Office was to blame for incorrectly deporting 48,000. Covered in The Hindu news publication, the documentary claimed to have revealed fraudulent activity at an East London school involving overseas students that sat the ‘Test of English’ for International Communication (TOEIC). Not long after it aired, Immigration Minister James Brokenshire made an official statement to Parliament in June 2014. He said that an investigation post-Panorama found evidence of 46,000 ‘invalid and questionable’ tests.
After that investigation, Theresa May decided to revoke the sponsorship licences of around 60 educational institutions and detain and also, remove thousands of international students who’d previously achieved the TOEIC certificate in the past. The true extent of this has now come to light shortly after the actual figure was announced in the Upper Tribunal (Asylum and Immigration). It was ruled that the Home Secretary’s evidence suffered from ‘multiple frailties and shortcomings.’
At the tribunal’s judgement, President McCloskey said: ‘The evidence adduced on behalf of the Secretary of State emerged paled and heavily weakened by the examination to which it was subjected.’
It was also uncovered during the Tribunal that there was no evidence given from any English Testing Service (ETS) witness. The president of US company that run the tests – who were contracted by the Home Office – said ‘almost remarkably, ETS provided no evidence, directly or indirectly, to this tribunal.’ He summed up the discovery by saying ‘The legal burden of proof falling on the Secretary of State has not been discharged. The Appellants are clear winners.’
This breakthrough immigration ruling could now see thousands of the deported students return to the UK, seek advice from immigration solicitors and claim compensation for the wrong doing and effect its had. In light of this news, a spokesperson from the Home Office said: ‘The Government continues to tackle abuse of our immigration system and protect the reputation of our world class education institutions.
‘The investigation into the abuse of English language testing in 2014 revealed extremely serious, large scale, organized fraud. We are very disappointed by the decision and are awaiting a copy of the full determination to consider next steps including an appeal.’
Veronica Pembleton is a freelance writer and research journalist, who specializes in a number of core areas, including travel, tourism and current events. An avid explorer, Veronica now resides in the UK after making the move from her beloved America. She now offers other travelers advice on their journeys and aims to bring insightful information to those who dream of discovering new places.