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The UK Supreme Court has ruled against the Home Office and deemed their actions in the case of one international student as an “abuse of power”. This could be a landmark case for thousands of other international students who have had their visas cancelled under similar circumstances. It was determined that the Home Office acted out of line by communicating with the student’s college about their belief that his Test of English for International Communication certificate had been acquired fraudulently. Once he lost his place at the college, the Home Office determined this was grounds to terminate his visa.
The 28-year-old Bangladeshi student in question had been in the UK lawfully since 2009 as a student and had accepted a place on a business course at the Blakehall College, which has since closed. Unfortunately, the college received a letter from the Home Office accusing around 200 students of obtaining their TOEIC qualifications from fraudulent sources. Mr Mohibullah disputes the claims that he cheated on the test, but agrees that the voice on the recordings is not his own. He maintains that he doesn’t know how this could have happened.
The issue of whether or not he obtained the qualification fraudulently isn’t the key issue of the case. By communicating their intent through the college, Mr Mohibullah was offered no opportunity to appeal the decision and was effectively left in the dark about the decision. According to the case report, “the Secretary of State’s ability to invoke the mandatory and unappealable curtailment of leave decision making route was a direct result of the improper conduct, consisting in essence of duress and manipulation, which we have found;”
Mr Mohibullah may have had the decision quashed, but this is by no means an ideal outcome for the student. In order to retain his visa status, he has been granted a limited time to find a place on a course and source the £25,000 to pay for tuition. As he has been unable to work or study for the past two years while he appealed the decision, this might prove difficult for the student. However, the case could offer a glimmer of hope to the thousands of students instructed to leave the UK following the TOEIC scandal.