The Home Office has agreed that any TOEIC appellants who succeed in their appeals on Article 8 grounds, should be granted 2.5 years leave to remain.
This a significant victory, secured by Bindmans on behalf of one of our TOEIC clients, MM, who has been fighting the allegations against him for six years.
MM was kicked out of his university in 2014 after the Home Office accused him of cheating on a TOEIC English language test. The Home Office then curtailed his Tier 4 leave, on the basis that he no longer had a sponsor. MM had to bring two claims for judicial review, and send two further pre-action letters, in order to secure a right of appeal against the Home Office’s allegation.
When his appeal was finally heard in 2019, five years after the accusations were first made, the Tribunal found that the Home Office’s allegation was baseless. MM did not cheat on his test. Like so many others affected by the TOEIC scandal, his life was devastated for years, on the basis of false accusations by the Home Office.
However, having won his appeal, MM was granted just 60 days’ leave to remain in the UK. This was an insult to the years that he has spent fighting to clear his name, and left him facing the prospect that it would all have been for nothing if he could not make a new application for leave to remain within that time.
Following further judicial review proceedings, the Home Office has now accepted that MM, and other successful TOEIC appellants, must be given 2.5 years leave to remain. This is in line with the guidance that applies to all Article 8 appeals.
Many TOEIC appellants have been granted the same, shockingly inadequate, remedy of just 60 days leave to remain. Some people managed to raise the funds to make another application for leave in time, but others did not. Even those who did apply for leave in time may have had to incur further debts, which they can ill-afford after six years of being unable to work. The Home Office agreement that the correct grant of leave is 2.5 years should allow those who were negatively affected by the grant of 60 days to seek a remedy.
We hope that the practice of granting just 60 days will now come to an end. We invite all TOEIC appellants and their representatives to make use of the redacted Consent Order that is linked at the side of this post if the Home Office offers anything less than 2.5 years’ leave to remain at the end of their appeal.
What is the TOEIC scandal?
The TOEIC scandal has been described by MP Mike Gapes as “a bigger scandal than Windrush in terms of the number of individuals removed from the country and whose livelihoods are being destroyed by anguish and despair.”
Tens of thousands of people were accused by the Home Office of having cheated on a TOEIC English language test, which was a Home Office-approved test between 2010 and 2014. The Home Office took action on a vast scale against those accused. The evidential basis of the allegations has always been heavily contested.
In the great majority of cases, the accused either had no right of appeal at all, or were required to return to their home countries and try to bring an appeal from there. This means that they had no way to challenge the allegation against them.
Following years of litigation, many accused individuals have finally been allowed to bring an appeal from within the UK. Having waited years for justice, it is understood that a majority are now winning their appeals. The allegations against them have been shown to be unfounded.
MM was represented in his judicial review by Roberta Haslam and Theodora Middleton of the Bindmans’ immigration team and by Greg 0’Ceallaigh of Garden Court Chambers
Bindmans acts for a number of individuals who have been affected by the TOEIC scandal, and has worked with the National Union of Students to prepare reports and briefings on the issue. You can read more about this case here.
Have you been a victim of the TOEIC scandal? We have launched the TOEIC Justice Project to provide you with the information, resources, and support you need to help with your fight for justice.