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UK: Home Office rejects TOEIC appeals scheme

The UK government has rejected a proposal calling for a bespoke scheme to allow students caught up in the TOEIC scandal to request a review of their case in a letter to chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on the TOEIC test Stephen Timms.

House of Commons Library figures suggest that by the end of September 2016 more than 35,870 visa holders had had visa refused or curtailed on the basis of the TOEIC scandal, and more than 4,600 had been removed from the country. Photo: pxhere

"The department remains satisfied that the handling of the case is in line with agreed policy"

“The new home secretary has considered advice on this matter and has come to the view that setting up a bespoke scheme would not be viable given both the passage of time and current legal frameworks relating to appeal rights, judicial and administrative reviews,” the letter signed by parliamentary under-secretary of state Seema Kennedy said.

“It remains the case that for many people… the most appropriate course will be to make an application based on their Article 8 rights to family and private life. This is the approach that many individuals have already undertaken.”

Kennedy also noted the “department remains satisfied that the handling of the case is in line with agreed policy”, adding letters from other MPs concerning the Home Office’s handling of the case would be responded to “as a matter of priority”.

The Home Office had previously been heavily criticised for its handling of the case where thousands of students accused of cheating either had their visa revoked or were deported.

Kennedy also recommended students apply based on their Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights – rights to family and private life – as “the most appropriate course” given the period since the scandal first broke.

“The guidance is being changed to ensure that such an application will be considered in a holistic manner and not refused simply based on the alleged deception,” the letter continued.

Director of Migrant Voice Nazek Ramadan expressed disappointment in the government for its refusal to offer students a solution

“The new home secretary has scrapped the plan for a scheme that would have allowed students to have their cases reviewed”

“Report after report has condemned the government’s handling of this issue, with the latest by the Public Accounts Committee describing the Home Office’s behaviour as ‘shameful’,” she said.

Ramadan added while the former home secretary seemed to “eventually admit some wrongdoing”, suggesting his Department had a ‘duty’ to do more to help innocent students, the latest statement is evidence that the government is continuing to evade the topic.

“The new home secretary has scrapped the plan for a scheme that would have allowed students to have their cases reviewed – a proposal that had finally kindled some hope for those people wrongly accused and living in desperate limbo,” she stated.

“Neither she nor the immigration minister have offered anything to replace that scheme, apparently convinced that this staggering injustice will go away on its own.”

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