I have no direct personal experience of these courses, but there is a fair amount of talk in the language business of problems they cause rather than problems they solve. The intention is good – to provide immigrants and asylum seekers with (in this case) linguistic skills which will make them more employable and better integrated in British society, and to provide them free of charge. But of course nothing is free, and someone pays (the taxpayer) and someone gets paid (the institutions providing the appropriate documentation). So the more students enrol, the more the institutions get paid, and the more the taxpayer pays.
But, the word is, it goes a little further than that. The courses are free to EU students who reside in the UK. In practice that means that they can be free for any EU student who shows up. The student who is asked “Are you resident in the UK (because if you are the course is free)?” being human, says Yes, and so irrespective of means gets a course free of charge. And in any case given EU law concerning freedom of movement it must be at least a possibility that to discriminate against a non-resident EU citizen is illegal. I hear that these courses are actively promoted in certain EU countries, and of course they are taken up with some enthusiasm. The net effect is a double whammy: the tax-payer has to fork out more money for students who may well have the means to pay, and the enterprises who would otherwise have provided courses on a normal commercial basis lose the business and so yield less money to the exchequer.
It looks like a grand socialist plan that is out of control.