The Home Office has suspended English language tests run by a major firm after BBC Panorama uncovered systematic fraud in the student visa system.The student visa system has been a way to gain access (and vanish) to the UK since it was allowed to be expanded by the previous Labour government. Since then a flood of students have come in from various non-EU countries on very flimsy educational contracts and a good few it seems have vanished or as in the case above had their visa extended because someone else took their test for them.
Secret filming of government-approved English exams needed for a visa showed entire rooms of candidates having the tests faked for them.
The English Testing Service - which sets the exams - is one of the largest language testing firms in the world.
Home Secretary Theresa May said the BBC's evidence was "very shocking".
For the last year, Panorama has been filming undercover, following a network of agents helping people obtain student visa extensions through fraud.
Each year, around 100,000 non-EU students get their visas to stay in the UK extended.
I don't know why Theresa May found it shocking, it's certainly no surprise to me or probably a large percentage of the indigenous population who have known about these scams for years.
Essentially a lot of these schools hit on a money making racket to get students to pay upfront for an education yet did not check to see what happened when they got here and dropped off the system. The whole system was lax from top to bottom and was simply a way for illegal immigrants to get into the UK and vanish in the hope (a pretty good one) that the Border Agency never caught up with them.
Again and again it appears that our immigration service and border controls are not fit for purpose as it appears anyone can simply waltz into the country on some sort of visa and then vanish or in the case of the schools get someone else to do the test for you to extend your stay.
It appears not a day goes by where a story about immigrants (illegal or otherwise) hits the headlines about them abusing the system. A common sense approach would have been instant deportation and citizenship revoked for them should they be caught and convicted of committing a crime say within the first ten years of their residency and instant no questions asked deportation if they are here illegally or under a temporary visa.
However we do not live under a common sense system, we live under a legalistic one undermined by the Human Rights Act.
We're storing up a mass of trouble for future generations and still we fiddle whilst Rome burns...