Getting Someone Else To Sit The IELTS


Re: Lohani 0901871  MRT

1 September 2010, Melbourne

Mr D Young, Member

SKILLED (RESIDENCE) (CLASS VB) . SUBCLASS 885 . CL.885.213(b) . IELTS TEST . IDENTITY . A delegate of the Minister was not satisfied that the visa applicant met cl.885.213 of the Regulations, as the delegate found that the person who had undertaken the IELTS test, and whose photograph was scanned onto the score sheet, was not the applicant. The applicant claimed that the IELTS test administration procedures left little room for deception or fraud and that the two photographs presented to the IELTS centre both depicted him. He claimed that the photograph scanned onto the test results sheet was taken 3 years before his passport photograph and that in the meantime he had gained weight, lost some hair, changed his hairstyle, and he hadn.t worn glasses in the latter photograph because the photographer asked him to remove them due to the lenses reflecting the studio flashlight. He also claimed the test centre staff were all Anglo-Australians and may have had difficulty telling Indians apart. The applicant produced a witness at the Tribunal hearing who was a fellow student and who claimed that he was present at the same IELTS test session where he saw the applicant.

Held: Decision under review affirmed.

The Tribunal noted that the visa applicant produced a witness at the hearing who had a similar appearance to himself. As to his similar hairstyle, the witness claimed it was common for young people to mimic the local style. The witness and the visa applicant disputed the Tribunal’s suggestion that had deliberately contrived to look similar, but different from their respective passport photographs, in order to raise doubts in the Tribunal’s mind about the reliability of the photographic evidence, or its own capacity to tell Indian people apart.

The Tribunal did not dispute the IELTS test results, however it questioned whether it was the applicant who had obtained them. The Tribunal noted that there was no claim that the IELTS test centre photograph was incorrectly scanned onto the applicant.s score sheet, nor that there was an administrative error. The Tribunal was satisfied that the person depicted in the applicant.s IELTS test results photograph was not the applicant, whose likeness had been well-captured in his passport photograph. The Tribunal found that there were multiple significant differences between the people in the photos which were manifestly obvious, even to the untrained eye, and which did not generally change. The Tribunal’s observations were consistent with the expert testimony of the Department.s document examiner, and use of specialised facial recognition and matching software. The Tribunal rejected the claim that the applicant was asked to remove his glasses for the latter passport photograph, and noted that passport holders who normally wear visual aids were required to do so in these photos. The Tribunal also noted that the applicant did not explain why he provided the IELTS centre with an old photograph in circumstances where identity might be an issue. The Tribunal was aware of fraud at the IELTS test centre in recent years, and was prepared to countenance the possibility of human error, or even malfeasance, by test centre staff not sensitive to differences in facial features of Indian people. However, the Tribunal considered it was not its task to speculate on the actions or decisions of IELTS test centre staff, but to determine whether the two photographs depicted the applicant on two occasions, three years apart. The Tribunal was satisfied that they did not. Accordingly, the Tribunal found that the applicant did not satisfy cl.886.213 of the Regulation and the decision under review was affirmed.

Barbara Davidson