Migrants Cheating Exam To Get Residency

There is evidence that many prospective migrants are resorting to fraud to overcome tougher migration rules, with the compulsory International English Language Testing System (IELTS) at the centre of the controversy,

Migrants cheating exam to get residencyThere is evidence that many prospective migrants are resorting to fraud to overcome tougher migration rules, with the compulsory International English Language Testing System (IELTS) at the centre of the controversy,

The IELTS can make or break a candidate's future in Australia.

Karen, an Indian graduate in Melbourne, has already taken the test seven times without success. She needs a high score to qualify for permanent residency.

She says she is now prepared to cheat in order to pass the exam. If she cannot pass, she will be forced to go back to India when her visa expires shortly.

"It's very stressful because I spend a lot of money - $317 per test fees," she said.

"I'm looking for a person in India who [will] take our money and just clear my IELTS test. He will sit in my place in the test and he will clear my test instead of me."

International students are finding different ways of cheating. ABC Radio National's Background Briefing program has been given a leaked exam sheet that was emailed to an aspiring migrant, one day before the date of the exam.

The growing trade in leaked papers, purported to be for the IELTS, is threatening to undermine the integrity of the test.

Two months ago, an investigation by Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) in Western Australia found IELTS scores were manipulated at the Curtin University English testing centre.

The CCC tapped into a phone conversation by a previous centre employee, who later admitted to taking bribes to falsify results.

IELTS Australia director John Belleville says the organisation treats any instance of fraud or potential fraud very seriously.

He says attempts to manipulate results often fail, but he acknowledges there are people seeking to take advantage of those worried about the test.

"To suggest it's the tip of the iceberg is probably being a bit melodramatic," he said.

"There are scamsters running around India every day of the week, offering clients for exorbitant amounts of money all sorts of services.

"It could be 'we'll get you the exam paper for the next test [or] we have someone sit it for you'.

"Whatever they need to say to extract money from a desperate candidate, they are willing to do."

ABC Online