Indian Students urge Rishi Sunak to Act on English Test Scandal

Many Indian students have urged Rishi Sunak to act against the “unjust” cancellation of their visas as a result of the English exam scandal.

Indian Students urge Rishi Sunak to Act on English Test Scandal f


"The initial government reaction was unjust"

Many Indian students have handed a petition to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak asking him to take action against the “unjust” cancellation of their visas as a result of the English test scandal.

The problem stems back to 2014 when a BBC Panorama investigation revealed that there had been cheating at two UK testing locations for a mandatory language test needed for visas.

Tens of thousands of student visas associated with such centres were revoked as a result of the UK government’s extensive crackdown on the centres.

Migrant Voice has been helping the affected pupils and organised the most recent petition, which was submitted to 10 Downing Street on March 20, 2023.

Nazek Ramdan, Director of Migrant Voice, said:

“This is one of the biggest scandals in contemporary British history. The initial government reaction was unjust and has been allowed to drag on for years.

“It could have been resolved by a simple solution, such as allowing the tests to be retaken.

“The students came here to get a world-class education and the best student experience in the world, but instead their lives have been wrecked.

“It is time for the government to step in and end this nightmare.

“All it takes to bring this to an end is leadership.”

Most of the accused students returned to India because they were denied the ability to remain, work, or in some cases, appeal.

According to the petition, those who stayed to clear their reputations have struggled with homelessness, high legal costs, stress-related diseases, and missing family weddings, births, and deaths.

Throughout the years, watchdog and parliamentary reports have brought attention to various weaknesses in the Home Office evidence that was previously utilised in the case.

Other students are still in limbo even though their legal challenges were successful.

The relevance of Sunak “addressing the injustice at a time when numbers of students and migrant workers form part of UK-India trade negotiations” is now being emphasised by Migrant Voice.

For more than nine years, the organisation has been advocating for the impacted students through the #MyFutureBack campaign and pleading with the UK government to give them the opportunity to clear their reputations of any wrongdoing.

Indian student Sarbjeet has been away from her children for 13 years because she believes she cannot return to India with the accusations looming over her head.

The Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC) was a required language test, and according to reports, some overseas students cheated at two London test sites.

The UK government responded by opening a criminal inquiry into Educational Testing Service (ETS), the organisation that managed 96 TOEIC test centres, and requesting that it look into the claim.

The UK Home Office abruptly cancelled the permits of more than 34,000 international students as a result of the ETS inquiry, making their presence in the UK illegal overnight.

An additional 22,000 people received the message that their test results were “questionable”.

Almost 2,400 students have been deported, and thousands more have gone of their own will.

The remainder, numbering in the hundreds, have waged years-long campaigns to clear their names.

Ilsa is a digital marketeer and journalist. Her interests include politics, literature, religion and football. Her motto is “Give people their flowers whilst they’re still around to smell them.”

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