Education providers will recall that, on 24 June 2014, James Brokenshire, the Immigration Minister, delivered a statement to Parliament outlining details of action being taken against a number of Tier 4 sponsors. The action followed an investigation into the alleged abuse of the Tier 4 Student route, including potentially fraudulent and questionable ETS/TOEIC test results. It was alleged that thousands of students had either taken/potentially taken fraudulent ETS/TOEIC tests.

While the investigation was ongoing, many Tier 4 providers either lost their sponsor licenses or were forced to withdraw students from study. We understand that over 3,600 enforcement visits took place; nearly 30,000 refusal, curtailment and removal decisions were issued; and a significant number of students were removed from the UK.

On 21 April 2016 the Upper Tribunal published its judgment in the latest ETS/TOEIC cases with the following headnote:

“The generic evidence upon which the Secretary of State has relied to date in all ETS cases has been held insufficient to discharge the legal burden of proof on the Secretary of State of proving that the TOEIC certificates were procured by dishonesty in circumstances where this evidence, via expert evidence and otherwise, has been demonstrated as suffering from multiple shortcomings and frailties and, further, the evidence of the two students concerned was found by the Tribunal to be plausible and truthful”.

Please note that the case has been marked as unreported and therefore may not be cited in future proceedings before the Tribunal without permission. The Home Office Select Committee has ordered an urgent investigation into the matter. We are still awaiting confirmation from UKVI on how it intends to deal with students, who have been removed from the UK.