migrantvoice
Speaking for Ourselves

A success in the My Future Back campaign!

A success in the My Future Back campaign!

MV

 Migrant Voice -
 Migrant Voice - A success in the My Future Back campaign!

In response to a case brought by law firm Bindmans, the Home Office has agreed to grant 2.5 years leave to remain to any international students who were accused of cheating on an English test six years ago and who win their appeal in the immigration tribunal.

This is a major victory and a policy change for which we, along with Bindmans and MPs including Stephen Timms, have been calling for many months.

It's great news for students who were falsely accused of cheating on the English test known as TOEIC back in 2014 and stripped of their visas, and who are still fighting their legal cases - this is hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of people.

Until now, many of the students winning their cases have been given just 60 days to find a university that will accept and sponsor them and to raise the funds they need to pay for their student visa (plus the NHS surcharge at £400/year). To be eligible for the visa, they also have to find a way to raise £20,000 (or often more) to show they can support themselves during the whole period of their studies. For many of the students, who have spent the last six years unable to work and spending thousands of pounds on their legal cases, this is impossible. 

This is an issue that we have raised with the Immigration Minister several times and we are delighted that the Home Office has now agreed to change its policy and no longer issue anything less than 2.5 years leave to remain to students who win their appeals. We will be watching closely to make sure the Home Office does implement this policy and working with students who currently only have 60 days (or any amount of leave less than 2.5 years) to make sure their leave is upgraded.

It's a welcome step, but it's not the resolution we need. We still need a political solution that can free these students from labyrinthine, expensive legal processes and the possibility of having a good case dismissed, simply because a judge does not understand the case.

The Home Office must allow all those accused to sit a new, secure test, or attend an interview, or have their case independently reviewed - we have suggested multiple practical resolutions and we urge the Home Secretary to take this matter seriously and work with us and the students to find the best way forward, so they can finally get their futures back.