A campaign to redress a Home Office decision that has wrecked the lives of tens of thousands of international students was launched on 10 July.
University of Greenwich (Queen Mary Court)

University of Greenwich (Queen Mary Court)

Image by Gresham College

“It’s a Windrush-style example of disastrous decision-making, another toxic effect of the government’s ‘hostile environment’ policy towards migrants,” said Nazek Ramadan, director of Migrant Voice.
“The handling of the issue contradicts basic principles of British life, including the presumption of innocence until proven guilty and the imposition of collective punishment.

“It’s been compounded by the way the Home Office has made legal challenges difficult for the students.”

The plight of the students started four years ago when the administration of a Home Office-contracted English language test was found to be flawed. As a result, everyone who had taken this test over a three-year period was collectively accused of cheating, summarily kicked off their degree courses and ordered to leave the country, with an allegation of fraud hanging over them. Some have been detained and deported.
The impacts – detailed in a Migrant Voice report launched in Parliament on 10 July – include mental and physical illness, divided families, huge debts from solicitors’ fees and other legal expenses, damaged reputations that prevent students from getting jobs, and detention.
Says Ronak, from India: “I came to this country as a genuine student, and then applied as a genuine businessman. I have lost everything: my money, my reputation, my time, especially my time ... The Home Office has failed to show any single piece of valid evidence ... What I have lost I’ll never have back … My savings are gone, my business is gone, my health is gone.”

Nazek Ramadan said: “Thousands of students are trapped. They can do nothing until they have cleared their names. This campaign is proposing a simple, fair solution; let them take the English-language test, and let those who pass resume their university courses and their lives at the point at which they were brutally and arbitrarily cut off."
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