The Home Office has suspended English language tests run by a major firm after BBC Panorama uncovered systematic fraud in the student visa system. Secret filming of government-approved English exams needed for a visa showed entire rooms of candidates having the tests faked for them.
The English Testing Service – which sets the exams – is one of the largest language testing firms in the world. Home Secretary Theresa May said the BBC’s evidence was “very shocking”. For the last year, Panorama has been filming undercover, following a network of agents helping people obtain student visa extensions through fraud.
Each year, around 100,000 non-EU students get their visas to stay in the UK extended.