College accused over language certificates
A college was under investigation today following claims it was illegally selling English language certificates to help hundreds of immigrants settle in the UK.
Students at the Manchester-based Oxford College of Management Sciences appeared to have "little or no knowledge of what, when and where they had studied" and could buy the certificates for between £250 and £450, an investigation by The Times found.
UK Border Agency (UKBA) officials said anyone applying for citizenship who claimed to have an English language qualification from the college had been automatically refused since April.
Lin Homer, UKBA chief executive, said: "I take allegations regarding any abuse of the immigration system extremely seriously and will ensure that action is taken by officers on intelligence received.
"This Government is committed to cracking down on this kind of abuse."
The accusations will fuel concerns that bogus colleges are providing the English for Speakers of Other Languages (Esol) certificates, part of the requirement for UK citizenship, as they exploit weaknesses in the UK's immigration controls.
In December last year, exams regulator Ofqual raised concerns that immigrants could use the certificates as a means of applying for permanent residency in the UK.
It warned that the certificates were "being issued with virtually no training or learning taking place and with insufficient rigour in the assessment process".
Today, Ms Homer added: "This college is not accredited and since April we have automatically refused any applicant with an English language qualification from this college.
"We have referred details of this college to the Office of the Qualifications and Examinations Regulator and City of Guilds to investigate as a matter of urgency.
"Anyone found to be claiming settlement or citizenship through dubious means will be refused and they will be barred from reapplying for 10 years."
More than 203,000 immigrants were granted British citizenship last year, a 58% rise on the previous year and the highest number since records were first published in 1962, Home Office statistics showed.
Isis 'jihadi bride' claims forced sex with Yazidi girls is never rape because Koran condones it
Woman accidentally shoots herself in the head while posing for a selfie
Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
David Starkey 'tells Amal Clooney to shut up and stop over-promoting human rights'
16-year-old girl beaten and burned alive by lynch mob in Rio Bravo, Guatemala
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland
- 1 A politically correct lefty goes to see Top Gear live – you'll probably believe what happened next
- 2 Woman accidentally shoots herself in the head while posing for a selfie
- 3 Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
- 5 David Starkey 'tells Amal Clooney to shut up and stop over-promoting human rights'
£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...
Reach Volunteering: Would you like to volunteer your expertise as Chair of Governors for Livability?
Voluntary and unpaid, reasonable expenses are reimbursable: Reach Volunteering...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + substantial benefits: Ashdown Group: Finance Admin...
£40000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Linux Systems Administrat...