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?