East Falkirk MP’s fiancée ‘accused of cheating visa test’

The fiancée of East Falkirk MP Martyn Day has been accused of faking an English test for a visa application - despite being an English teacher with a Master’s Degree.

Mr Day and Ms Chand, pictured during the recent Peace Vigil in Falkirk.
Mr Day and Ms Chand, pictured during the recent Peace Vigil in Falkirk.

Nidhin Chand (41), an Indian national, says she was taken to a police office and specifically accused of deception, and that the treatment she received has caused her severe depression.

Last week, as Mr Day campaigned to help hundreds of others hit by fraud allegations, she demanded to be allowed to prove she can speak English.

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She wants to know why someone with her level of fluency would possibly bother to use a stand-in for the test.

Were it not for her fiance’s visa - meaning she does not in any case need to sit the test - she may still have risked losing her visa.

Meanwhile, says Mr Day, around 2,000 people across the UK are fighting the same accusations, and with no right of recourse.

He is now working with the campaign group Migrant Voice and an All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) in a bid to force the Government to allow many others who found themselves accused of using a proxy to sit a new “secure” test.

Along with several members of the APPG, Martyn met Sajid Javid and outlined a number of cases which he says showed that people whose visas had been revoked could not have cheated.

These included individuals who had never sat the test, who have sat it but not used it in any visa application, or who have been accused of sitting the test in centres different fron the ones they actually attended.

Migrant Voices says its investigation has uncovered a UK Government shambles.

However last week the Home Office defended its system to the BBC.

It said a 2014 probe into the alleged abuse of English language tests for students had uncovered widespread fraud, and claimed its get-tough changes had been successful in countering this.

The Falkirk Herald asked the Home Office whether it aimed to offer an apology for its allegations of deception in Ms Chand’s case, but we were told: “We do not routinely comment on individual cases.”

Martyn Day said: “Five years ago, the Home Office unfairly refused or revoked the visas of 35,870 international students.

“They were told to leave the country and given no right to appeal in the UK. More than 1,000 were removed from the UK.

“The students were accused of cheating on an English test carried out by the firm ETS but the Home Office has largely failed to provide any evidence.

“Where it does exist, judges have found it to be fundamentally flawed.

“Justice is based on the principles of due process and the presumption of innocence, but the Home Office has chosen to disregard these - with devastating effects”.

He added: “The vast majority of those affected have been denied in-country rights of appeal, and must return to their home country and appeal from there using video link-ups to the UK Courts - something which is technologically impossible in many cases.

“Many students now suffer severe mental and physical health problems.

“Even more are destitute or have been rejected by their parents, who are ashamed of the accusation.

“It is well within Sajid Javid’s power to end this injustice.

“Our campaign, supported by dozens of MPs across parties, calls on him to show leadership and give these students their futures.”