Thursday, 24 March 2016

Home Office relied on unscientific "hear-say" to deport thousands of students from UK says Appeal Tribunal

Upper Tribunal(Immigration and Asylum chamber) has ruled that the Home Office was wrong to deport thousands of international students after the BBC's panorama programme exposed fraud by students taking language tests set by ETS, a US firm contracted by the Home Office .

The language test is a part of immigration requirement designed for immigrants to prove their English language proficiency for life in the UK.

According to 'The independent', the tribunal ruled that the Home Office used unscientific "hear-say" to deport the students from Britain and had failed to prove the students had cheated in English language exams before detaining them and removing them from the UK.

The ruling centered on a test case of two students who had taken an English language test set by the Home Office contractor, ETS at one site in east London in 2014.

In response to the BBC's panorama programme, the Home Office revoked the licence of around 60 educational institutions across the country and the UK Border Agency raided and removed thousands of international students claiming they had obtained English Language certificates through fraud a situation described as 'over reaction' by Migrant Charities.

After hearing that the Home office witness had "multiple frailties and short-comings" and had no scientific expertise in the voice recognition software at the heart of the fraud, the tribunal said the Home Office had relied on limited hear-say evidence and ruled that:

"The ETS organisation and the Secretary of State has not discharged the legal burden of establishing that either appellant procured his (English Language) certificate by dishonest."

The chairman of the Home/Affairs select committee,said his committee would launch an inqiuiry into the Home Office contracts process as a result of the judgement.

The Co-ordinator at campaign group, Right to Remain welcomed the ruling and said: "All too often, the Home Office acts unjustly and even unlawfully with impunity and those affected simply do not have recourse to challenge them in the courts"

A Home office spokesperson expressed disappointment by the decision and declined to make further comments pending receipt of a copy of the ruling .

The paper concluded that this verdict could open doors to thousands of deported students returning to the UK and claiming compensation.

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