New language testing arrangements for UK visas: IELTS to continue to play leading role

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The UK government has announced important changes to Secure English Language Tests (SELT) for visa purposes.

-The UK government has announced important changes to Secure English Language Tests (SELT) for visa purposes;
-IELTS and IELTS Life Skills have been approved for UK visas that require proof of English language level;
-The new test–IELTS Life Skills–will be introduced for people who need to prove their speaking and listening skills at level A1 or B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference.

The UK government has announced important changes to language testing for visa applications, reducing the number of tests accepted for visa purposes and bringing in new requirements for the way the tests will be administered.

IELTS – the world’s most popular test of English for higher education and global migration – has been approved for all UK visas that require applicants to provide proof of their level of English. This continues the important role which IELTS has long played in language testing for immigration in the UK and other countries, including Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

Under the new arrangements, IELTS tests for UK visa applications will be offered throughout the year in more than 100 key locations throughout the world, and a new test – IELTS Life Skills – will be introduced for people who need to prove their speaking and listening skills at level A1 or B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR).

IELTS tests for visa purposes can only be taken at authorised centres and the centre must follow procedures specified by the UK government. When a test is booked, the customer must specify what the test is for and ensure that the centre is authorised to run tests for this purpose. A list of the authorised IELTS test centres will be made available soon on http://www.ielts.org/uk.

IELTS tests for UK Visas and Immigration are managed by the IELTS SELT Consortium, which comprises British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge English Language Assessment.

IELTS, which is jointly owned by the British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge English Language Assessment, has played a key role in language testing for immigration purposes throughout its 25 year history and is recognised by more than 9,000 organisations around the world including universities and employers in many countries, as well as by professional bodies, immigration authorities and other government agencies. More than 2.5 million IELTS tests were taken in 2014 in more than 140 countries.

For further information on the UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) announcement, please visit: http://www.gov.uk.

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Stuart Giblin
Cambridge English
+44 1223558407
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