UKBA issues Clarification of English language requirement for Tier 4 sponsors and students

(CC)Image: dump9x/Flickr

The UKBA recently announced (April 2011) changes to the English language requirements for students under Tier 4 of the points-based system as part of its new ‘Student Immigration System’ policy, raising the language requirement from level B1 to B2 (including for those wishing to come to learn English in the UK).

Following this change, this UKBA briefing clarifies the new requirements.

  • Students who wish to study at NQF/QCF level 6 (SCQF 9) and above normally need to produce a Secure English Language Test (SELT) certificate, from a UK Border Agency approved provider which shows that they have achieved level B2 on the Common European Framework of Reference for languages (CEFR) in each of the 4 components (speaking; listening; reading; writing).
  • Students who wish to study between NQF/QCF levels 3 and 5 (SCQF 6-8) normally need to produce a SELT certificate, from a UK Border Agency approved provider, which shows that they have achieved level B1 on the CEFR in each of the 4 components (see above)

Different rules apply to students who wish to study at a higher education institution (HEI)

  • For students who wish to study at NQF/QCF 6 (SCQF 9) and above there is no requirement to produce a SELT certificate. The HEI can vouch on the conformation of acceptance for studies (CAS) that the student has attained B2 level on the CEFR in all 4 components.
  • HEIs are not required to use a UK Border Agency approved provider to assess the level of English language competence for students who wish to study at NQF/QCF 6 (SCQF 9) and above. But where a test from an approved provider is used, the prescribed scores must be obtained in each of the 4 components.
  • Where the student will be undertaking a pre-sessional course of up to 3 months’ length, and has an unconditional offer to progress to a degree level course, then a single CAS can be issued for the pre-sessional and the main course. The HEI can vouch on the CAS that the student has attained B1 level on the CEFR in all 4 components, and a single grant of leave will be issued to cover the pre-sessional and the main course.

The briefing includes FAQ for students and sponsors.

Find out more on the UKBA website or download the briefing here.