Speaking for Ourselves

International students abandoned after Home Office errors

International students abandoned after Home Office errors


 Migrant Voice - International students abandoned after Home Office errors



Nearly a decade after tens of thousands of international students were unjustly stripped of their right to study, work and live in the UK by the Home Office many are still fighting to get justice. Together with Migrant Voice some of those still affected petitioned the Prime Minister on Tuesday, 21 March, to take action to clear their names.

In 2014 a BBC Panorama programme revealed cases of cheating at two English language testing centres in London. In response to the allegations the Home Office unilaterally revoked the visas of more than 30,000 university students, and left a further 22,000 waiting in limbo after being told that their results were “questionable”. The impact of this has been catastrophic on their mental and physical health, with many being disowned by their families until they can clear their names.

International student Noman Basher said: “We were wrongly accused of cheating on our English test. We would like to clear our name and we would like to come out from this limbo.”

During the last nine years, five Prime Ministers and six Home Secretaries, the students have continued fighting to be given the chance to prove their innocence and retake the tests. In their ongoing campaign to achieve this, a group of affected students handed a petition to the Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, on Tuesday, calling on him to reopen the issue and help them to start living their lives again.

Nazek Ramadan, director of Migrant Voice, said: “This is one of the biggest scandals in contemporary British history. The initial Government reaction was unjust and has been allowed to drag on for years. It could have been resolved by a simple solution, such as allowing the tests to be retaken. 

“The students came here to get a world-class education and the best student experience in the world, but instead their lives have been wrecked. It is time for the Government to step in and end this nightmare. All it takes to bring this to an end is leadership.” 

At the time the cases gained attention, but as time has moved on the students have been left fearing that there is no hope for them and that their dreams of gaining a world class education in British universities have been dashed forever. Many of the students come from India so, now, with the Prime Minister’s much heralded UK/India trade deal, they are calling for renewed focus. With more students expected to be able to study in the UK under the deal, those whose lives have been destroyed by the unfounded allegations want to ensure that they are ignored no more.

Speaking at the handover of the letter to the Prime Minister, Abdul Qadir Mohammed stressed how long this has been affecting him: “It has been years that we have been fighting this case to clear our names from this allegation, and still we keep getting refused on hideous grounds.”

Highlighting how the evidence used against them has repeatedly been found to be unsubstantiated, by judges as well as independent watchdogs and other experts, along with the number of cases which have been resolved, those students still left waiting for solutions fear that if action is not taken now then they may never be able to return to their families, or rebuild their lives.

Learn more about our campaign for justice for thousands of international students, or sign up to our #MyFutureBack mailing list to receive updates on our work.

Photo credit: Migrant Voice, 2023

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Migrant Voice
VAI, 200a Pentonville Road,
N1 9JP

Phone: +44 (0) 207 832 5824
Email: [email protected]

Registered Charity
Number: 1142963 (England and Wales); SC050970 (Scotland)

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