Monday, 23 November 2009

Citizenship Scam Exposed

I've never seen a UK Citizenship Centre, or should I call them Citizenshops.

In the window of the one in Birmingham posters say it offers "Home Office Approved Certificates" and they boast of a very high success rate with a quick and easy process.

This is where immigrants, some of whom speak no English, come to buy English language certificates that will enable them to apply for permanent settlement in Britain.

Under a system introduced by David Blunkett, certificates should be awarded only to migrants who have undergone lengthy language and citizenship classes and prove they can speak English to a workable level.

However, an investigation has uncovered a network of 'colleges' where staff cheat the system and admit they are "defeating the whole object of these exams." The scam involves 'college' staff allowing candidates to write the sound of English words on their sheets in their own tongue so the answers appear to be right on the oral examination tape recording, but the candidates don't know what they are saying. Also question and answer crib sheets are issued. All that is required is the candidate knows their name, date of birth and address. No English is necessary.

The Birmingham school is accredited by City and Guilds, the UK's leading vocational organisation which awards 1.8m certificates a year. It said it would investigate the evidence about the rigged test.

As Birmingham wasn't the only place this farce is enacted, surely City and Guilds should remove their accredition immediately and only offer the qualification at community colleges which are well established.

For years now we hear about 'colleges' which don't even exist. Close these places down and offer quality education for all in a local college where standards are regulated regularly.

Where are the Ofsted examiners? Why hasn't any improvement been made in closing these places?


Sue said...

On top of all that we are now bribing foreign criminals to leave our country at a cost of 5000 pds each!

We really are a soft touch... the world must be laughing at us.

subrosa said...

Aye they are Sue, more and more. After talking with someone last week we decided that those who accept the £5000 could well be back here within a few months. It seems that happens often as our border controls as next to useless.

Furor Teutonicus said...

I think I am probably uniquily qualified to comment on these "courses", having taken the German equivalent, as a refresher after coming back after 20 odd years and being rusty.

They are paid for by National Government and E.U funding. Any one set up as a "language school" can offer them.

They consist of language skills, and Culture/history.

The lowest is A2 going up to C3. You need the B1 to get citizenship here.

I started on B1, although I was offered a C2 course, because B1 felt more comfortable.

Culture/history. I have two degrees in German history, and out of 100 questions (The actual test is about 30), over half of them were so ambiguous as to be impossible to answer, (When was the Versailles treaty signed? Answer... WHICH one? There were at LEAST three in MODERN times), and of them a quarter were just plain WRONG. (In that the correct answer was not one of the four choices given). To top it all 30% is a PASS!!

Language. B1. In theory every one had already passed or reached the lower grades. In practice, over half the class could not say "bitte" and "danke" without the help of a dictionary.

During the exam, the teacher was going around putting pencilled in "X"s next to the correct answers.

At the final oral test, my oppo, said all of three words, and PASSED. This meant that he could THEN apply for a German passport.

The rules are the same all over Europe. As are, from what friends in Niederlands, Sweden, Denmark, Italy and Greece have told me, the standards.

subrosa said...

Quite a bit different from the days when I took the foreigner's exam in German Furor. I attended a well respected local college for, if I remember rightly, about 4 months two evenings a week.

The exam was not for passport reasons but I required the qualification to receive a business work permit.

Seems as if the whole thing is a farce all right over Europe. Is this the way we want our money spent? I'd much prefer people to actually learn. It would be much cheaper to just give them a passport and forget about this certificate.

Montague Burton said...

Yet, when genuine migrants assimilate, learn the language become part of the very fabric of our society, the lovely UKBA round them up and stick ten year old girls in detention centres before bundling them off to deepest Africa and a life of no education and genital mutilation.

Furor Teutonicus said...

There is an addition to my last post that I forgot.

You do not have to be from an E.U country to partake.

We had 15 Russians from a class of twenty people. What they were doing was coming here and staying with friends or relatives, taking the course, then when they got the certificate, they were going back to Russia and using the cewrtzificate as a qualification for their C.V's.

Within two weeks of recieving the certificates only ONE (The one that told me waht was happening) of the Russians was still in Germany, every one of them had gone home with no intent of ever returning here.

(Also I do not write much on these Google sites, because EVERY time I "log in" it refuses to accept my password, and I must register as a "new user". Strangely enough, it remembers my screen name, and the fact I have subscribed to the topic EVERY time though!)

banned said...

Furor Teutonicus, that just about sums up the 'training' I recieved c/o a UK Training Provider to upskill me to level 1 NVQ in my chosen career of twenty years . A total and utter waste of time where many of the questions were ambiguous and many of the 'correct' answers ( multiple choice, natch ) were just plain wrong. In addition the Training Provider filled in the pages that were supposed to be filled in by me, outlining "my" action plans for specific eventualities.
This cost the rest of you £1,500 courtesy Dept Education & Skilzz.

My assesment of the Training Providers management and staff was that twenty years ago they would have been selling photocopiers to people who did not need them, smarmy spivs.

It sounds like both the department and the trainers are playing the same game.

subrosa said...

Thanks for that Monty. I read it yesterday but I'm sure it will be of interest to others.

Apogee said...

Once again I have to agree with Banned. If this were to be done honestly, very few would pass first time. .until the penny dropped!
So we are just wasting money to give people devalued certificates.
Much better to spend a little more to train properly, and clamp down hard on trainers/companies scamming the system, which means they get stopped from scamming our (taxpayer) pockets.


subrosa said...

Very interesting Furor, I never thought so many Russians would consider that. Haven't times changed in the past 40 years.

Of course when I did a similar type of course there was no EU, you paid for the course yourself. If you couldn't afford it then tough.

They came from all over the world on mine, many from Turkey though. Most had already worked in Germany for some time and they needed this qualification to move up from the standard domestic work permit. Therefore most spoke German to some degree and the course was intense although enjoyable.

I was fortunate as I'd had German at school. There was one young lad on my course who was from Biafra and was desperate to be a construction engineer. He found German difficult because of its grammatical style and I've often wondered if he found his dream to eventually go home and start his own business. He worked harder than anyone to pass the exam.

Furor, I can never understand the technology of these computers. Some sites I visit regularly have such complicated comments sections I just give up.

Thanks for your contribution. It's certainly opened my eyes to the modern EU.

subrosa said...

Sadly banned, far too many people jumped on the 'trainer' wagon when the training schemes started after the Training Boards' demise.

The quality in many cases was pathetic and the old Manpower Services didn't have enough staff to supervise places.

I won't bore you further, as this is one of my hobby horses.

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