English-language testing inquiry launched

19 May 2016

The Home Affairs Committee is launching an inquiry into the Home Office's use of English-language testing in relation to the issuing of visas, with particular reference to its handling of recent allegations involving English-language test centres.

The issues the inquiry will cover include:

  • The way in which the Home Office responded to the allegations
  • The procurement, inspection and oversight of English-language test centres
  • The process for determining whether applicants had acted genuinely or fraudulently
  • The role of ETS (a Home Office approved provider of English-language tests)

Chair's comments

The Chair of the Committee, Rt Hon Keith Vaz MP, said:

"It is right that there is zero tolerance on fraud in our immigration system, however it is also clear that innocent people who were not involved in any such activity have seen their right to live and study in the UK removed.

The Committee is calling for evidence in order to establish how this situation was able to occur, the process used by the Home Office to identify the difference between genuine and fraudulent tests, and what the steps can be taken to restore the reputation of English language testing."

Terms of Reference

Written evidence is invited on, but need not be restricted to, the following issues:

  • Home Office processes for awarding licences to provide English-language testing services
  • Monitoring and inspection of English-language test centres
  • The response of the Home Office to the allegations
  • The process for determining whether applicants had acted genuinely or fraudulently
  • The role of visa sponsors, both before and following the allegations
  • The impact on genuine applicants
  • The scope for those accused to challenge decisions
  • The role of the provider company ETS
  • The procurement process

Submitting written evidence

Written submissions for this inquiry should be submitted online, by 4pm on Monday 6 June 2016.

Further information

Image: iStockphoto

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