Following hot on the heels of the introduction of a new English language requirement for settlement (indefinite leave to remain) and naturalisation applications in October last year, BBC Panorama uncovered yet another scam to try and circumvent the new Rules earlier this month. Some examination centres were found to be using fake ‘sitters’ and fraudulent invigilators.

The English language tests at the centre of this latest furore are the ETS TOEIC and TOEFL tests, which the Home Office have now suspended pending investigation. This means that applicants submitting evidence from ETS TOEIC or TOEFL in support of any application will have it held over until the Home Office has completed its investigations. The Home Office has confirmed that this could take over eight weeks to be concluded. Where the same day premium processing service has been used it is unclear whether the premium fee of £375 will be refunded if it subsequently transpires that the test certificate was obtained legitimately.

Where an applicant has taken the ETS TOEIC or TOEFL English test and has either submitted their application or is planning to do so shortly, it is recommended that the applicant sit another test with a different provider. Please click here for a link to the approved Home Office English language tests. The Home Office has not removed ETS TOEIC and TOEFL from this approved list but applicants beware!