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More ESOL Testing Scams in the UK

ESOL testing scamBack in February, the British Government suspended all TOEIC testing in the UK after it was revealed the exam was being scammed.

Well it’s back again. An investigation by the British Daily Mail newspaper has revealed how people who do not speak English can buy a ‘pass’ on an English language test for £500 ($786 USD, €622) which opens the door for them to get UK citizenship.

The scam takes place in a testing center where immigrants to the UK take an ESOL exam which is accredited by Ofqual, the exams watchdog.

To stay in the UK, immigrants need to pass the exam. However an investigation by the paper shows how applicants are offered a “guaranteed pass” for the compulsory Entry 3 Level ESOL exam for £500 ($786 USD, €622) (which is more than 3 times the usual cost).

Furthermore, the applicants don’t even have to visit the center, turn up for lessons or sit the exam. Instead an examiner does it all for them, including interviewing a fake candidate for the spoken part of the test. (Meanwhile anyone who feels they would like to sit the test themeselves can pay the money and be given the answers in advance.)

The scam came to light after a whistleblower at the Learn Pass Succeed school based in London approached the paper. However, the owner of LPS says he’s “shocked” and that the problem was only in one branch of the school which has passed some 50,000 candidates so far.

Editor’s Comment

This does not surprise us at all and is, no doubt, the tip of the iceberg.

We have heard a lot of rumors about these types of scams going on at quite a number of different test centers and it goes to prove what many people are too afraid to admit:

  • accreditation is a joke; even government run accreditation is open to heavy abuse and is often not even worth the paper its written on
  • the government is ineffectual and unwilling to act

After the last major scam in the UK there were promises of a clamp down and more stringent checks, but where are they now? Pathetic, mealy mouthed politicians made a few promises but then when the fuss died down they did nothing.

And it will be the same here. In a few months another similar scam will come to light and, almost inevitably, nothing will be done.

Useful Links

The Daily Mail article – bringing this to light

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