Students protest to UK for 'unfair' exams ban in visa applications

Angry Chinese students are protesting against a British government decision to stop accepting widely used English tests as evidence of language proficiency in visa applications.
On April 17, the UK government's Home Office said it would not be extending a testing license with the Educational Testing Service (ETS), the world's largest private nonprofit educational testing and assessment organization.
Students who have studied for ETS qualifications the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and the Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC), found these are no longer valid in UK visa applications.
The ban follows a British television report which exposed widespread cheating in ETS tests held in the UK.
But Chinese students planning to study in the UK argue that they're being punished for wrongdoings elsewhere, with many saying they have already received offers from UK universities.
Last Saturday, more than 200 Chinese TOEFL candidates banded together on Weibo.com microblog to complain to UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) and ETS.
"This policy may have a serious impact on our plans to study abroad, disturb our life totally and even shatter our study dreams," they wrote to UKVI.
"In China, invigilation of TOEFL testing is very strict ... the entire process is under the scrutiny of surveillance cameras and several invigilators," they said.
"It is really unfair and unwise to refuse innocent overseas TOEFL candidates."
In February, the BBC1 Panorama program showed fake exam sitters taking ETS tests for people seeking visas.
After the report was aired the Home Office suspended all English language tests done through ETS in the UK.
But students who took ETS tests in other countries, including China, thought this would not affect them.
Chinese students are now asking UKVI to "provide reasonable measures to help them," and demand that ETS work to renew its UK contract.
The UK Chinese Times, a UK-based Chinese language newspaper, reported the Home Office as saying that overseas students who applied for visas before April 6 would not be affected.
But the Weibo alliance said some universities — including Royal Holloway University of London, University of Bath and Durham University — have rejected TOEFL grades.
More than 27 million people have taken the TOEFL test, said ETS.


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