ETS Suspends TOEIC & TOEFL iBT for UK Visas

Following the broadcast of a BBC television documentary in February which highlighted an organized criminal element seeking to circumvent the U.K.’s visa-granting process, ETS has made the decision not to extend their Secure English-language Testing (SELT) license with the British government. As a result, TOEIC® and TOEFL iBT® testing will no longer be offered for U.K. visa-granting purposes.

In written statement, ETS stated, “Security is and always has been a top priority; however, we’ve made this decision in response to the security challenges portrayed in the BBC program. We acknowledge that we fell short of our own high standards and sincerely regret the dishonest activities of third party contractors in the U.K. whose job it was to administer the TOEIC tests honestly and fairly. When applied properly, our global security protocols prevent and detect incidents of fraud. Going forward we will continue to implement additional, stricter, best-in-class security measures for our tests, including biometric voice analyses, to ensure our test scores remain the most trustworthy in the world.

“We appreciate the Home Office’s recognition that while the TOEFL and TOEIC tests shared a SELT license, the fraud uncovered by the BBC program was limited to TOEIC testing. Security measures around the TOEFL test were never under question. The TOEFL test remains the most widely respected English-language test in the world recognized by more than 9,000 institutions in more than 130 countries.”

TOEFL and TOEIC exams were among the most widely used English tests by visa applicants seeking to study in the UK so the news could have a major impact on English-testing organizations.