BBC Panorama has discovered a scam in the student visa system. Due to this reason, the UK Home Office has temporarily suspended the tests conducted for English language.
Panorama secretly filmed a shoot that shows the agents providing the overseas students fake bank documents and also reading out the answers for a test on English Language.
The fraud took place at Studentway, an immigration consultancy in Southall, West London.
BBC was informed that at Studentway, the candidates could most likely (or, possibly) get through the English test even though they do not speak English, with the help of Studentway.
Varinder Bajarh, Director of Studentway, had told the undercover agent from BBC Panorama that some other person will write the exam for her (the undercover agent from BBC Panorama), and all that she needs to do is to get a photograph to ensure that she is present. In addition, she would need to pay, 3 times the fee which costs about £500 so that she gets to pass the test.
So, the undercover agent made her payment and sat for the exam at Eden College International which is a government authorized center. She was assigned a computer to sit and write the test for the visa application that is called TOEIC. However, she did not take the exam, but instead each of the 14 candidates present there was replaced by a fake sitter who wrote the verbal and the written tests for them. At the same time, the candidates were expected to stay there for their photograph to be taken as a proof that they were present.
The undercover agent applicant went to the college again to take another test. And this time, when she was attempting to write her exam, the invigilator just read out the answers for them. It just took 7 minutes for them to complete the exam.
When she returned to Studentway, after a few days she was issued a TOEIC certificate that showed that she had passed the examination and had obtained high marks for all the tests she had taken and was granted 100% for English proficiency.
ETS, one of the largest English language testing companies in the world sets the TOEIC exam.
In UK, the ETS website has since placed a notice, which says that, as per the request from Home Office, all the tests in UK that are related to immigration have been suspended temporarily. All the candidates who were assigned to take the test will be contacted shortly to refund the amount.
Panorama has suspended 2 colleges involved in the fraud. The English language tests that are conducted through ETS in UK would also be suspended temporarily.
In the fraud that occurred, the investigators of Panorama were also issued fake bank documents to prove that they have enough money to stay in the country, as part of the fraud by Studentway.