BREAKING NEWS : Indianapolis police identify gunman in FedEx shooting as man in his 20s Full Story
BREAKING NEWS : Blackhawk Christian's Caleb Furst named 2021 Mr. Basketball by IndyStar Full Story

MPs call for inquiry into UK Home Office treatment of foreign students

A group of UK lawmakers are calling for an independent inquiry into the Home Office's treatment of tens of t...

Posted: Sep 5, 2018 1:46 AM
Updated: Sep 5, 2018 1:46 AM

A group of UK lawmakers are calling for an independent inquiry into the Home Office's treatment of tens of thousands of foreign nationals, mostly students, whose visas were revoked or refused after they were accused of cheating on an English language test in 2014.

Speaking in a debate at Westminster, Labour MP Wes Streeting described the issue as "Britain's forgotten immigration scandal" and accused the government of acting in an "unlawful way" by ordering those affected to leave the country without any chance to retake the test, access the evidence against them, or appeal the decision from within the UK.

Continents and regions

Deportation

Education

Europe

Government and public administration

Government bodies and offices

Immigration

Immigration, citizenship and displacement

International relations and national security

Legislative bodies

Northern Europe

Students and student life

United Kingdom

Streeting said that the issue was a "global embarrassment to our country" and likely to have a significant, negative impact on the reputation of the UK abroad, most notably in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan, the home countries of many of the accused.

"Blanket decisions were made and people were deported without the chance to defend themselves," Streeting said, adding that "an independent inquiry is absolutely necessary."

Several lawmakers described the issue as a scandal on the scale of -- or even larger -- than the Windrush case, which erupted this year after it was revealed that some British citizens who arrived in the UK in the post-war years from Commonwealth countries were being wrongly detained and deported.

Any future inquiry into the issue of alleged cheating can only be ordered by the government and would likely take many months or even years to complete.

Tens of thousands affected

Since the Home Office began revoking thousands of study and work visas in 2014 on the basis that the applicants had used fraud to pass their English test, known as TOEIC, the government has faced serious allegations of wrongdoing from members of Parliament and senior judges regarding its handling of the situation and its failure to provide sufficient evidence in court to prove the claims of fraud.

In the first two years after the accusations emerged, the UK Home Office revoked or refused more than 28,000 visas and deported more than 4,600 people on the basis of the claims, according to a 2016 report by the parliamentary Home Affairs Committee, a cross-party group of members of Parliament who scrutinize the department's policies.

Hundreds of the accused -- many in the UK and others in their home countries -- are still embroiled in legal battles, through which they hope to clear their names.

Those in the UK are considered illegal immigrants and do not have the right to work, study, rent a house or access public services.

Responding to Streeting and other lawmakers questioning the conduct of the Home Office Tuesday, immigration minister Caroline Nokes said that the government had taken "immediate and robust action" after the possibility of large-scale fraud was first revealed by a BBC documentary in early 2014, and that all action taken had been "measured and proportionate."

"I regret that innocent applicants may have been caught up in widespread fraud," she said, adding in response to a question from a lawmaker that no compensation had been offered to those who had won their cases and cleared their names, despite the years-long legal process they had undergone.

Unhappy with Nokes' answers, Labour MP Lyn Brown called for the Home Office to issue an apology to all those wrongly accused and an acknowledgment "of how unfair and unjust this has been."

"People have been separated from their families, detained and deported from the UK ... their assets stripped away," Brown said, adding that "the blame falls squarely on the shoulders of the Home Office."

Nokes 'not prepared to listen'

Kazi Ruhullah, one of the foreign nationals accused of cheating in 2014, is fighting his case in the courts and says his life "has been torn apart" by the allegation. He hasn't seen his fiancee in Bangladesh for four years, but says he cannot return to his country while the allegation still stands.

"I would never cheat, I respect the rules," he said.

After watching the debate Tuesday, Kazi says that he still has hope that his case -- and those of thousands of others -- can still be resolved, but that he heard nothing from Nokes that suggested the Home Office would alter its position soon.

"No impact has been seen in her heart," he said.

Nazek Ramadan, director of Migrant Voice, a London-based migrant advocacy charity that published a report accusing the government of a "four-year failure" on the TOEIC issue, said that Nokes is "a politician who is not prepared to listen and engage," adding, "we're in a total mess if she's in charge."

Ramadan said she was pleased to see MPs raising specific cases of those affected, saying that their contributions "gave us trust back in Parliament."

"We have been asking: all this injustice is happening, where are the MPs?" Ramadan said.

Migrant Voice is calling for an immediate end to the detention and deportation of those affected and for those accused to be given the opportunity to retake the test.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 703345

Reported Deaths: 13194
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion959691716
Lake51222940
Allen38926670
Hamilton34288404
St. Joseph33770539
Elkhart27117431
Vanderburgh22034393
Tippecanoe21671212
Johnson17451374
Porter17206297
Hendricks16735310
Clark12657190
Madison12302337
Vigo12155244
Monroe11385166
LaPorte10800204
Delaware10312184
Howard9617211
Kosciusko9068113
Hancock7939139
Bartholomew7854153
Warrick7675155
Floyd7542176
Wayne6880198
Grant6773170
Boone6524100
Morgan6370138
Dubois6071117
Marshall5753108
Dearborn568075
Cass5671102
Henry5563100
Noble537983
Jackson492369
Shelby477795
Lawrence4332118
Gibson427389
Harrison426570
Montgomery416486
Clinton416053
DeKalb406684
Huntington376980
Whitley375539
Miami371465
Knox365389
Steuben362657
Putnam351960
Wabash346677
Jasper346146
Adams337652
Ripley333368
Jefferson311579
White307354
Daviess288899
Wells285180
Decatur278592
Fayette277062
Greene270385
Posey268333
Scott260553
Clay252244
LaGrange251470
Randolph234480
Washington230431
Spencer227431
Jennings224647
Fountain207745
Sullivan207342
Starke201952
Owen191856
Fulton190839
Carroll185620
Jay185529
Perry179536
Orange176553
Rush170324
Vermillion165743
Franklin165435
Tipton160943
Parke143816
Blackford132831
Pike130134
Pulaski113145
Newton102934
Brown99640
Crawford97014
Benton96213
Martin82415
Warren78915
Switzerland7698
Union69610
Ohio55511
Unassigned0405

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1048109

Reported Deaths: 18917
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1217031352
Cuyahoga1063982060
Hamilton779451165
Montgomery49883989
Summit45144907
Lucas39826760
Butler37638568
Stark31348894
Lorain24090472
Warren23835291
Mahoning20822583
Lake19915362
Clermont19397228
Delaware17972130
Licking16089206
Fairfield15646196
Trumbull15521459
Medina14815259
Greene14613236
Clark13576288
Wood12709184
Portage12313194
Allen11303229
Richland11017198
Miami10511212
Muskingum8688127
Wayne8543209
Columbiana8527226
Pickaway8421120
Marion8360135
Tuscarawas8359239
Erie7540153
Ross6692145
Hancock6683123
Geauga6527146
Ashtabula6458164
Scioto6280100
Belmont5591158
Union556247
Lawrence5458102
Jefferson5283147
Huron5270113
Darke5264121
Sandusky5164119
Seneca5093118
Washington5074107
Athens499454
Auglaize474884
Mercer470384
Shelby455089
Knox4371108
Madison421058
Putnam420298
Ashland412086
Fulton407966
Defiance399996
Crawford3858100
Brown385555
Logan372276
Preble369598
Clinton359659
Ottawa355478
Highland346059
Williams323274
Champaign318556
Jackson306951
Guernsey305848
Perry289349
Fayette276948
Morrow274439
Hardin263563
Henry263166
Coshocton258257
Holmes252699
Van Wert238662
Gallia233246
Pike232431
Adams227552
Wyandot226353
Hocking208958
Carroll188947
Paulding168538
Meigs141438
Noble132737
Monroe128841
Morgan106423
Harrison105336
Vinton81414
Unassigned02
Fort Wayne
Partly Cloudy
56° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 56°
Angola
Partly Cloudy
52° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 52°
Huntington
Partly Cloudy
55° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 55°
Fort Wayne
Partly Cloudy
56° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 56°
Lima
Partly Cloudy
53° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 53°
Temperatures start to climb back up on Friday as we'll see mostly sunny skies return to northeast Indiana and northwest Ohio.
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events