Windrush: UK may have Ordered 7,000 Foreign Students Deported

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LONDON- The Home Office may have falsely accused as many as 7,000 foreign students of faking English language tests, it was claimed last night.Critics said up to 20 per cent of 33,725 students who were alleged to have cheated to beat UK border controls may not have been guilty and were unable to appeal.In June 2014, the Government admitted tens of thousands of immigrants desperate to stay in Britain had abused the student visa system.Ministers revealed there had been ‘systematic cheating’ that allowed foreigners who could barely speak a word of English to stay in the country illegally.Corrupt invigilators had read out answers or allowed gangs of imposters to sit tests so the candidates could be awarded an English language certificate in a ‘shocking’ scam run by criminal gangs, said the Home Office.One university and 57 private further education colleges were been stripped of its right to admit foreign students.But immigration barrister Patrick Lewis told the Financial Times that many of the students accused of faking the English language tests may have been wrongly accused. Some of these would have been deported.He said the harsh treatment of the foreign students – in the UK legally – highlighted the flaws in the ‘hostile environment’ strategy introduced by then Home Secretary Theresa May in 2014.The approach which seeks to make life tough for illegal immigrants, denying them homes, jobs, bank accounts and benefits, has been blamed for targeting Windrush generation Commonwealth migrants who did not have paperwork proving they had a right to stay in the UK.The plight of the foreign students began after the BBC’s Panorama programme aired an investigation in February 2014 alleging systematic cheating at some colleges in the Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC).Mrs May responded by asking US-based firm Educational Testing Services, which ran the testing system, to analyse voice files to work out if students were using proxies to sit the tests for them.After analysing the files, ETS said it was confident 33,725 test takers had used someone else to sit the test for them.Most were told they had no right to appeal and should leave the country.But an immigration appeal tribunal in 2016 heard that when ETS’s voice analysis was checked with a human follow-up, the computer had been correct in only 80 per cent of cases.This meant that some 7,000 students had their visas revoked in error, it was claimed.The Prime Minister’s spokesman said the Government response to the cheating scandal was ‘measured and proportionate’.He said that expert evidence had shown the number of false matches would be ‘very small’. He said 21 people had been convicted for helping students to fake their tests, with prison sentences totalling 68 years imposed.A Home Office spokesman 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 rob AutoNews- Source:…

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