UK foreign student visa English language test fraud

Occurred: February 2014

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A new BBC Newsnight investigation has found that the UK Home Office continues to try to remove people discovered to be cheating in an English language test, despite evidence of poor conduct and inaccurate data at ETS, the organisation running the tests.

BBC Panorama had first uncovered 'systematic' fraud in the student visa system in 2014 with undercover filming showing  candidates having TOIEC tests faked for them. Panorama researchers were also sold fake bank details to demonstrate they had sufficient funds to stay in the UK. 

A 2019 National Audit Office investigation concluded that the Home Office's course of action against TOEIC students 'carried with it the possibility that a proportion of those affected might have been branded as cheats, lost their course fees, and been removed from the UK without being guilty of cheating or adequate opportunity to clear their names.' 

Operator: UK Home Office
Developer: Educational Testing Service (ETS)
Country: UK
Sector: Govt - immigration
Purpose: Reduce cheating/fraud
Technology: Voice recognition
Issue: Accuracy/reliability; Effectiveness/value
Transparency: Governance; Black box; Complaints/appeals