Group accused of rigging English exams to extend hundreds of student visas

The tests were rigged in three centres
The tests were rigged in three centres

Six people have stood trial for allegedly rigging English language exams for hundreds of overseas students applying for visa extensions after their antics were exposed by a BBC Panorama investigation.

The students, who came on student visas but according to prosecutor David Walbank had no “genuine intention to study here”, were charged a vast sum of money to either have the answers to questions read out for them when doing the tests or have someone take the tests on their behalf. Non-Eu students were even provided with forged bank statements and academic records which they could show the Home Office in order to extend their stays.

Harinder Kumar, 31, Hemant Kumar, 40, Talal Chowdhury, 30, Shaheen Ahmed, 33, Wahida Sultana, 39, and Mohammed Hasan, 37, appeared at Southwark Crown Court accused of plotting to facilitate the commission of breaches of immigration law between 17 October 2012 and 10 February 2014.

Jurors heard the scams were run at three different locations, Studentway Education in Southall, Middlesex, Eden College International in Bow, east London, and Total Care London, in Whitechapel, east London.

“This case involves the provision by these defendants of fraudulently obtained English-language examination results by having a proxy or a substitute sitting the exam for them, or by having multiple choice tests and simply reading out the answers to them,” prosecutor Walbank said in court.

“All of this was done by these six defendants and the others with whom they conspired to facilitate, to assist, hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of persons who were already here on student visas to lodge fraudulent applications to the Home Office.”

The six defendants have denied the charges. The trial continues.