THOUSANDS of international students who were forced to abandon their studies and return home after being accused of cheating in English language tests are hoping the publication of a government watchdog report could help them clear their names.
The National Audit Office is expected to release its study on Friday (24), and next month an all-party group of MPs are due to meet to investigate what happened.
In 2014, the Home Office cancelled the visas of 36,000 international students for allegedly cheating in English language tests, a requirement for visa renewal.
More than 1,000 students have been removed from the UK as a result of the accusation, with some spending long stretches in detention centres.
Farzana Boby returned to her home in Bangladesh two years ago. Her family has lost £50,000 in tuition fees and UK living expenses, reported the Guardian.
But she has no qualifications to show for her time in London, as she had to stop attending college after being accused of cheating.
“It has been difficult finding work. No matter how much I know and no matter how good my English is, without a graduate degree I cannot apply for a good job,” she said.
Tejas Soni, from Mumbai, was pursuing a master’s degree in the UK when he too was accused of cheating in the English language tests.
“It is hand to mouth in India. The lack of a degree and the lack of experience means it’s hard to get a job. The visa curtailment ruined my life because I couldn’t complete my degree,” he said.
His marriage, too, broke down because of the allegation. “She thought I was a loser”.
Migrant Voice, a charity organisation, has been calling on the government to allow international students accused of cheating to sit a new English test to prove their innocence.
“This is an important step on the road to justice for thousands of innocent students,” Migrant Voice director Nazek Ramadan told The PIE News.
“The criminal allegation against them means that they cannot continue their studies, get a good job or obtain a visa to travel anywhere in the world. They have lost their futures.”