View from the house: Students hurt by ‘hostile environment’

PUBLISHED: 08:00 20 May 2018


Amber Rudd had to resign as home secretary after the Windrush scandal. Sajid Javid replaced her. I was in the House of Commons on April 30 for the new home secretary’s first appearance.

East Ham MP Stephen Timms.East Ham MP Stephen Timms.

I asked if – in light of Windrush – he would examine the treatment of thousands of foreign students ordered to leave the UK after accusations of cheating in English language tests.

The “TOEIC students” had visas curtailed after a BBC Panorama investigation in 2014 revealed cheating on a significant scale at centres run by US firm ETS, delivering the Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC).

The Home Office was right to act on the revelations. However, there was no independent assessment of who cheated. The Home Office relied on allegations by ETS against some 40,000 people. Serious doubts have been raised about reliability. Courts have found some wrong.

I have met some of those accused. I am convinced that many were entirely innocent. It has been estimated that up to 7,000 students may have been wrongly accused. They have been abandoned with no money, no qualification, a shaming allegation of dishonesty hanging over them. They find themselves in an appalling situation. Their treatment shameful. I want a House of Commons debate. I will ask the minister for three things: a clear statement that appeals in TOEIC cases must be heard in the UK; that those affected will have their rights restored while awaiting appeals; and that people wrongly removed from the UK will have a chance of redress. Like the Windrush scandal, TOEIC shows how government’s ‘hostile environment’ immigration policy has gone badly wrong.

Latest Newham Stories

The midfielder discussed Marvin Ekpiteta’s England C debut and praised the other members of Orient’s defence

Josh Coulson

West Ham United have suspended youth coach Mark Phillips after he took part in a march organised by the Democratic Football Lads Alliance (DFLA), the Premier League club have confirmed.


Round four to take place in London in December


London Lions fell short in defending their title at the British Basketball All-Stars Championship, losing in the semi-finals to the Leicester Riders.

56 minutes ago

According to the latest data, 553 stop and searches were carried out in Newham in one month. From those, 100 people were arrested.

Forest Gate

Essex Senior League: Hullbridge Sports 4 Clapton 2

Essex Senior League

Police are appealing for help in finding a missing man described as ‘high risk’ and ‘extremely vulnerable’.


New York Knicks shooting guard Tim Hardaway Jr. is excited about returning to London to play in front of the British crowd when they play against Washington Wizards in the NBA London 2019 match.

National Basketball Association


Hanson Fernandes’ journey began in 2015 when he arrived in London from Goa, India.

Newsletter Sign Up

Newham Recorder twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read news

Show Job Lists

Education Promo

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Newham Recorder
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now