Student accused of cheating on English language test is “desperate” to prove her innocence

FOREIGN students who have been accused by the Home Office of cheating on English tests have detailed how they have had to put their lives on hold, unable to work in the UK or use the NHS.

About 36,000 student visas have been cancelled since 2014.

Fatema Chowdhury is one student whose life has been left in a limbo for years due to the cheating scandal. She came to the UK from Bangladesh in 2010 and finished her law degree in 2014 at the University of London.

She told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme she was at one stage detained for a week after being accused of cheating in the English test, which Chowdhury denies.

Although she has not been told to leave the UK, she cannot work in the country or use the NHS for free.

“During my delivery last year they charged me £14,000 just to have a baby,” she explained.

Saying her dreams and hopes were now gone, Chowdhury said she was “desperate” to speak to someone at the Home Office to “prove my innocence.”

The government, meanwhile, said the home secretary has “listened to the points raised… and has asked for further advice”.

Labour MP Stephen Timms has termed the treatment of the students a “disgrace.”

The MP for East Ham told Victoria Derbyshire: “They trusted Britain to provide them with a decent education. Instead, they’ve been falsely accused of cheating and been given no chance to appeal.

“They’ve been left in limbo for years.”

He said the Home Office should now allow students to take a “reliable” English test.

“If they fail, fine. But if they pass, they should be given a visa back in order that they can complete their studies.”