Shabana Mahmood has challenged the Home Office on English tests scandal
Shabana Mahmood has challenged the Home Office on English tests scandal

Excerpt from The Guardian.

Home Office ‘not that bothered’ over English tests scandal, MP says

Labour’s Shabana Mahmood, a member of the committee, said: “I put it to you that it is not just really concerning but that it’s shameful, the impact that innocent people have faced as a result of the decisions and the approach taken by the Home Office.”

Students who protest their innocence have in some cases spent tens of thousands of pounds attempting to get justice through the courts. Some have become suicidal as a result of being denied the right to finish their studies after spending large sums on UK college fees.

About 2,500 students have been forcibly removed from the UK after being accused of cheating in the exam, according to a National Audit Office report. Another 7,200 left the country after being told they faced detention and removal if they stayed. Many have tried to prove their innocence in court: 12,500 appeals have been heard and so far 3,600 people have won their cases.

Mahmood said the Home Office had moved from having a very lax language testing system to a harsh clampdown and was “not sufficiently curious as to the impact on innocent people”.

She said: “Your defence, ‘well they can go to court’ … do you know how much money it costs to go to court? They’re not the children of millionaires. Who has £20,000 or £30,000 lying in a bank account? That is the cultural problem. The Home Office is basically not that bothered about the impact on innocent people.”

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