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English Language Tests

Volume 709: debated on Monday 28 February 2022

14. If she will take steps to resolve the immigration status of overseas students who have been falsely accused of cheating in English language tests. (905742)

As I said recently in the House in response to an urgent question, the Home Office is awaiting the findings of the upper tribunal presidential panel, who are currently considering the case known as RK/DK, which we hope will bring further clarity to the ETS TOEIC issue. Once we have received and digested the judgment we will announce our next steps.

After 2014, over 30,000 overseas students lost their visas, accused of cheating in English language tests. It is now clear that the great majority of those students were entirely innocent. It is now over 12 months since the Home Secretary rightly told the Home Affairs Committee:

“We need to find a resolution”.

Why wait for the outcome of the court case? There is no need to delay. Why not now bring forward the resolution the Home Secretary has rightly promised?

Given that the judgment is believed to be fairly imminent, it makes eminent sense to wait for it and then announce our next steps fully taking into account what it says and what it concludes. As the right hon. Gentleman will be aware, given the passage of time we have already amended our guidance to make it clear that where a person’s right to a private and family life in the UK is relevant, the interception of a previous TOEIC test is not an invariable ground for refusal if they make an immigration application.

We now come to topicals. I have granted some extra time to the Home Secretary as she wants to make an important announcement.