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IELTS fraud uncovered in Australia

An IELTS testing centre at Curtin University in Perth, Western Australia, is to close after an investigation found that test-takers were able to cheat their results – one newspaper report in The Australian said that students would pay up to AUS$11,000 for fake IELTS results – a competent language proficiency score can mean a pathway to permanent residency in the country.

Up to nine people have been charged, including former staff member Kok Keith Low and others including former international students. An internal document from Curtin University reveals that it has decided the high risks to operating a test centre mean it is no longer commercially viable – and Vice-Chancellor, Jeanette Hackett, was reported as saying this was a community service rather than a core operation.

The internal Curtin document said: “With the need identified recently, as a result of the [fraud] hearing, to reduce testing numbers in order to provide a quality product with all the safeguards for risk in place, the service has become less financially viable”.

Problems with fraud among IELTS test takers were also highlighted in China by IELTS itself in May. Imposters sitting an IELTS test in the place of the authentic candidate would face serious consequences, said James Shipman, Director of IELTS for China. “Around the world, IELTS works closely with relevant authorities, including immigration and law enforcement agencies, to prevent, identify and report any fraud attempts. In China, for example, IELTS issues life bans on any candidate identified as attempting to present a fraudulent identity,” he confirmed.

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