English language requirement

English language requirement

Do you meet the requirements needed for certain UK visas or permits?

English language requirement

South African clients applying for certain UK visas or permits are often surprised to learn that they have to fulfil an English language requirement. Although South Africans tend to think so, the United Kingdom do not recognise South Africa as being a majority English speaking country, and South Africans thus have to fulfil this language requirement.

It is also important to keep in mind that the UK Home Office requires applicants to prove their English language ability in a very specific way, and at a specific level for different applications. In this regard, we advise clients to get the relevant information from their BIC consultants, on whether a language test is required and at which level.

All applicants applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain and UK citizenship are required to have an English speaking and listening qualification at the B1 Common European Framework of Reference for languages (CEFR).

Persons who are nationals of majority English speaking countries, and those who have obtained a degree which was taught in English will not be required to take the English test. Once again, it is important to note that South Africa is not recognised as being a majority English speaking country.

It is possible to fulfil the English language requirement in two ways: If your degree was taught in the United Kingdom, you will automatically fulfil the English language requirement. If taught in another country, and you can prove that it is equivalent to, or at a higher standard than a UK bachelor’s degree, and evidence that it was taught in English, you will fulfil the requirement. Your BIC consultant will advise you how to provide this proof; or
An applicant will have to pass an English speaking and listening qualification, with an approved provider, at the required level for the specific type of visa or persons.

Certain persons are exempted from this requirement, this inter alia include: children under 18 years of age; persons aged 65 years and older; and persons who have a physical or mental condition which restricts their ability to learn English and/or communicate.

It is also important to note that the UK Home Office only accepts English Language tests, from approved providers.

Recently the UK Home Office made an important announcement regarding providers. From 6 April 2015, only the following two new tests providers are approved to provide English language tests, for UK visa purposes:

Trinity College London – for UK clients only; and

IELTS SELT Consortia – for visa clients applying from inside and outside the UK.

There are certain transitional arrangements regarding the providers:
If you have already taken an English test, or will take a test before 5 April 2015, with one of the current approved providers, you will be able to use your certificate until 5 November 2015; If you take a test after 5 April 2015, with one of the current approved providers, it will not be accepted by the UK Home Office for UK visa purposes.

Note however, that you are only required to book an English language test with a new provider as from 6 April 2015.

If you require more information, please feel free to discuss your unique circumstances with your BIC consultant.

www.bic-immigration.com or info@bic-immigration.com