You need papers? For £500 – no problem!

By May 18, 2014February 18th, 2021No Comments

Cheat your way to a passport: For £500, migrants who speak no English can buy certificate that opens door to UK citizenship

Our undercover reporter was offered bogus documents to get a passport

Examiners revealed they fill out the tests for applicants for ‘guaranteed pass’

At least 200,000 passports are being legally granted to migrants every year

Home Secretary Theresa May has ordered urgent investigation into findings


16 May 2014

Scandal: Migrants who speak no English have been able to pay £500 for a certificate saying they passed

A corruption scandal that strikes at the heart of Britain’s immigration controls is exposed today by a Mail investigation.

Migrants who can speak no English were able to buy, for just £500, a certificate which says they have passed a language test.

The documents open the door to British citizenship, allowing them access to a full range of benefits.

MPs and campaign groups warned that our revelations could be just the tip of the iceberg at a time when 200,000 passports are being granted to migrants every year.

Home Secretary Theresa May last night ordered an urgent investigation into the Mail’s evidence, which could lead to criminal prosecutions.

The scam focuses on exam centres – licensed by the Home Office – which are supposed to test if a person can speak English to at least a basic level.

The test, accredited by exams watchdog Ofqual, must be passed by anybody who wants to remain permanently in the UK or become a British citizen.

But secret filming at one centre – responsible for passing 50,000 candidates – exposes how staff sell pass certificates to migrants who did not even attend.

The investigation into Learn Pass Succeed (LPS), which has four branches in London and is accredited by a Home Office-approved examination body, reveals:

Applicants are offered a ‘guaranteed pass’ for the compulsory Entry 3 Level ESOL exam for £500 – more than three times the normal cost

They do not have to turn up at the centre, take any classes or sit the test

Staff recruit a fake sitter to take the oral part of the test, which is recorded

The reading, writing and listening sections are completed by the staff themselves

Applicants who do decide to sit the tests are given answers in advance

In the wake of the Mail’s findings, LPS has been suspended by the examining body, EMD. But with a record number of passports being handed out, there are fears the racket may be far more widespread.

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