UK Investigating Student Visa Fraud Allegations

By Editorial 02 July, 2014

The UK's Immigration Minister, James Brokenshire, has told Parliament that three universities are currently not allowed to sponsor overseas students, and that the licenses of 57 private further education colleges have been suspended, following allegations of organized cheating in English-language tests and reports that foreign students have worked in the country illegally.

The UK Government has named the three affected universities, and said that further action may be taken against other universities.

Brokenshire said that immigration enforcement officers have been conducting "a detailed and wide-ranging investigation" into organized English language testing fraud. In February, the BBC's Panorama documentary program showed testing centers where native speakers took tests on behalf of candidates, and where the invigilator read out answers.

The Panorama revelations prompted the Home Office to suspend use of the Test of English for International Communication as a valid qualification for demonstrating language proficiency. Brokenshire told the House that a criminal investigation has been launched into the role of a test provider, but said that immigration officials had not found evidence to suggest there is systematic cheating taking place in tests carried out by other providers. There are also concerns about proof of academic qualifications, and attendance record-keeping.

The Minister added that HM Revenue & Customs had identified cases of overseas university students earning more than GBP20,000 (USD34,000) per year, despite a 20-hour a week limit during term time, and students at further education colleges paying income tax despite not being allowed to work at all. Some students registered as studying in London reportedly gave as their home address the address of restaurants in other towns.

Tags: Tax | United Kingdom | Enforcement | Education | Education | Expats | Immigration | Visas And Passports | Education | Immigration |


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