Students impacted by the English testing scandal in 2014 have presented a petition to Downing Street this week, calling on the Prime Minister to offer them a chance to clear their names and return to their studies and find work.
Following the airing of a Panorama report in 2014 into two testing centres, which uncovered allegations of cheating, over 30, 000 international student visas were effectively revoked overnight. Almost a decade later, there remain students whose lives are in limbo, in some cases unable to find work nor able to return to their homes, having effectively been accused of cheating. They still maintain their innocence.
The National Audit Office has previously raised concerns about the protection of those who claim innocence, making parallels with the Windrush scandal. The treatment of these students should be viewed within the wider context of the UK’s ‘hostile environment’ towards migrants. The fear is that many of those embroiled in the scandal were caught up in this climate.
It is in the best interests of all that those who claim innocence be given the opportunity to clear their names so they can continue their lives as a matter of justice.