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In 2014, tens of thousands of international students were wrongly accused of cheating on a spoken English language test and their visas were revoked.
Many of them have spent the last five years living in limbo; five years without the right to study, work, rent a house or drive a car; five years without seeing their families back home.
In most cases, the government has failed to present any evidence at all to back up their allegations of cheating. Where there is evidence, its often spectacularly flawed.
Yet with no in-country appeal right, many of the students had no way of fighting the allegations. Someone facing a criminal charge has a better chance of clearing their name.
But thats what thousands of them are trying to do, spending up to £45,000 on years-long, hopeless legal battles, just in a bid to win the right to appeal.
Their situation represents a serious miscarriage of justice, as a founding tenet of the UK justice system innocent until proven guilty has been overturned.
Many of the students have been campaigning for years to get justice and prove their innocence, some of them forming a group now known as theEnglish Language Test Victims Campaign.
Migrant Voice has been working with a group of student activists from that group since 2017. In July 2018, we launched a report in Parliament, and the campaign led to a parliamentary debate on the matter two months later.
But the government has still not taken action, so the My Future Back campaign goes on.
Together with the students, Migrant Voice is calling on the government to let the students resit the test and ensure that those who pass get their status back and can continue their work or studies in the UK.
We are currently planning a new phase of the campaign in January 2019, including a mass lobby in Parliament and social media actions.
All funds raised will go specifically to the students campaign.
- £100 will pay for volunteer travel expenses and provide emergency funds for students in severe hardship
- £250 will pay for publicity for the January lobby (printing posters, flyers, placing small adverts)
- £500 will pay for materials for the lobby
- £1000 will pay for dozens of students to travel to London for the lobby day
All campaign funds will be overseen by Migrant Voice and payments will be processed in line with our financial policy and procedures as a not-for-profit company and charity governed by charitable regulations.
Funds will be allocated based on decisions made by a committee comprising representatives from Migrant Voice and the English Language Test Victims Campaign. If there is money remaining at the end of the campaign, it will be allocated to the student hardship fund.
A wider campaign group called International Students Campaign UK (ISC UK) was formed at the end of 2018 out of some members of the English Language Test Victims Campaign. The issue of the tens of thousands of students wrongly accused of cheating currently forms the main agenda of the ISC, but this is likely to expand in the future.