Timeline: the UK Home Office’s ETS investigation and tribunal
In March 2016, an immigration tribunal condemned the Home Office’s decision to deport thousands of international students for alleged exam fraud in 2014, following a BBC undercover investigation that exposed onshore testing fraud at three TOEIC testing centres.
A formal inquiry has been launched into the Home Office’s investigation that deemed up to 56,000 exam results invalid or questionable, leading to the reported deportation, curtailment or departure of 48,000 international students, a majority of whom were Indian.
According to the Hindustan Times, many Indian students left of their own accord in the aftermath of the Home Office action. Harsev Bains of the Indian Workers Association told the newspaper: “Seventy percent of the 48,000 affected were Indians. Due to their personal and national humiliation, many left of their own accord, the majority were deported.”
He added: “The biggest disappointment was that this was not briefed or highlighted to Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his (November) visit.
The focus of the investigation will centre on the whether the Home Office over-relied on ETS’s voice recognition software and expert advice to invalidate results, and how robust the evidence actually was in the first place.
Here, The PIE News takes a look at the events leading up to the launch of the inquiry, beginning with the TV documentary in February 2014 that led the Home Office to act.