Abuses in Test Centres
At the beginning of this year, BBC1’s programme Panorama sent legal overseas students undercover to sit for the exam, who filmed how test candidates were allowed to have someone sit for the examination in their place if they paid £500 instead of the official cost of the test. Invigilators were also filmed reading out the correct answers during the test, which allowed students to finish a two hour long test in only just above five minutes. James Brokenshire, the Home Office immigration minister, stated that a criminal investigation is now being carried out to look into ETS, the European subsidiary of a US company, because they believe such reckless behaviour cannot be carried out without the knowledge and support of the test centres themselves.
So far, Glyndwr University had its license suspended after 350 students from that institution were found to have invalid or questionable results. West London University (with 290 students with invalid or questionable results) and Bedfordshire University have been forced to stop sponsoring new students until their investigations are completed. The National Crime Agency is assisting the investigation and Immigrations has began to identify those students who have falsified their results and are now illegally residing in Britain. Other irregularities include cases of overseas students earning as much as £20,000 per year even when they are only allowed to work 20 hours a week.
Thousands of Tests Invalidated
The language tests involved in the matter were first implemented in 2011 to avoid immigrants using colleges as a way to get into the country and work illegally instead of attending to classes. So far, 29,000 of the tests taken by ETS between 2012 and 2013 have been declared invalid and 19,000 results have been classified as questionable. The numbers are expected to rise as the investigation advances.