In a letter seen by The PIE, Stephen Timms MP, chair of the APPG, has invited a representative of ETS to speak on the company’s involvement with the case – it delivered the TOEIC English language test on behalf of the Home Office – and respond to some of the allegations that have been made about its handling of the case during the first meetings of the APPG.
The APPG has been meeting over the past two weeks, hearing from students, legal and technical experts and education sector representatives.
During the first sessions in the first week of June, the APPG heard from the students who had been affected by the case and lawyers who represented them.
“The testimonies heard at the APPG inquiry reinforce how a catalogue of systemic failures and negligence”
In the following week, the APPG heard from experts in voice recognition Peter Sommer (Birmingham City University), Philip Harrison and Peter French (JP French Associates) during the first session, while the second session included interventions from Joy Elliott-Bowman of Independent Higher Education and Migrant Voice director Nazek Ramadan.
“The testimonies heard at the APPG inquiry reinforce how a catalogue of systemic failures and negligence by Home Office and ETS officials led to the unfair revocation and cancellation of student visas,” chair of APPG TOEIC Stephen Timms MP told The PIE News.
A third round of evidence sessions was scheduled to take place on 18 June but has been cancelled.
Director of Migrant Voice Nazek Ramadan told The PIE that a representative of the Home Office had been invited to attend but no confirmation of attendance had been received.
Lawyers representing the government were also invited but declined to attend, Stephen Timms’s office reported, adding that the Home Office had been contacted again.
In an email response to The PIE News on 13 June, the Home Office said it had received an invitation that week and would respond in due course.
Whether or not any further stakeholders will give evidence to the APPG – ETS did not respond to a media request for comment by the time of publication – the group will be working on summarising its investigation into the TOEIC cheating case.
“Over the next few weeks, the APPG will work with the group’s secretariat, Migrant Voice, in writing a report which we hope to present to the Home Secretary in due course,” Timms added.
“The importance of the APPG is that all politicians are coming together to address this massive injustice”
Despite her disappointment for the cancellation of the final formal evidence session, Ramadan told The PIE that the sessions that had taken place had been very helpful.
“It’s very important for us that MPs and Parliament give us space to bring this issue again inside Parliament – because this is where it needs to be addressed,” she said.
“The importance of the APPG is that all politicians are coming together to address this massive injustice, to acknowledge and recognise there is something terribly wrong with this situation.”