A number of shady organizations are offering means to cheat on a required test for immigrants applying for British citizenship, a BBC investigation revealed.
The ‘Life in the UK’ multiple-choice test is aimed at establishing an applicant’s understanding of British laws, traditions, and customs.
A BBC undercover investigation found that some so-called training academies in and around London were offering foreigners the chance to pass the test with the help of a hidden Bluetooth earpiece.
For a fee of £2,000, the applicants are reportedly able to answer the questions after being provided with the answer by someone listening in on the other end.
“Everything will be arranged. He will give you the answer,” Masud Abdul Raza, Director of Ideal Learning Academy in east London, is quoted as telling an undercover BBC journalist.
The Bangladeshi-origin businessman was recorded by the BBC, promising a guaranteed positive result for a fee, on the ‘Inside Out – London’ programme, which was aired on Monday evening. The academy, run by Abdul Raza, is one of many where candidates take classes to prepare for the test.
According to the BBC, Ideal Learning Academy provided the undercover researcher with a hidden two-way earpiece, linked wirelessly through a Bluetooth connection to a concealed mobile phone with an open line.
This meant the gang outside could hear the audio feed of the test questions and provide the answers.
However, despite being caught on camera, Abdul Raza denied any cheating schemes, insisting that he only organizes legitimate training.
Over the past year, nearly 150,000 people have given the ‘Life in the UK’ test, and nearly one in five applicants has failed the exam.
The test, which is taken on a computer and has a pass mark of at least 18 correct answers out of 24, is supposed to be held under strict exam conditions and is to be completed within 45 minutes.
The administration of the tests has been outsourced by the UK government, with around 60 testing centres across the UK.
The BBC claimed its investigation had unearthed cheating in other centres around the country as well.
A UK Home Office spokesperson said test centres were required to put in place stringent measures to prevent cheating, including searches of candidates to ensure no electronic devices enter the test room.
“Where we have evidence that a test centre is failing to uphold our standards, we will investigate and take appropriate action,” he said.