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Degree students for UK unaffected by UKVI changes


  • The UK government has announced important changes to Secure English Language Tests (SELT) for visa purposes;
  • IELTS and the new test IELTS Life Skills have been approved for UK visas that require proof of English language level;
  • Tier 4 UK student visa rules remain unchanged.

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.

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.

Those who are applying for a Tier 4 student visa to a Highly Trusted Sponsor (HTS) to study for a bachelor or postgraduate degree are required to meet the English language level set by the institution. All British universities and colleges accept IELTS results. This means students can apply with an IELTS result from any of the 1,000 IELTS test locations worldwide unless their institution has additional requirements. See www.ieltsidpindia.com for a list of test locations.

The Tier 4 student visa rules, current at the time of writing, detail the specific arrangements for those applying to study with Highly Trusted Sponsors, which are listed at this link: Official list of British Universities and Colleges with Highly Trusted Sponsor Status

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.

IELTS test for UK Visas and Immigration

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On 20 February 2015, the UK government announced important changes to Secure English Language Tests (SELT) for visa purposes.

If you make a visa application to stay or move to the UK, you need to be aware of changes made by United Kingdom Visas & Immigration (UKVI).

What are the changes?
If you are going to or staying in the UK, there is an IELTS test for you.

In addition to the IELTS General Training and IELTS Academic tests, which you may already know of, a new test called IELTS Life Skills will be introduced.

IELTS Life Skills test will be introduced for candidates who need to prove their speaking and listening skills at levels A1 or B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR). This will be a single test covering speaking and listening skills.

For more information on the UK Visas and Immigration, please visit Guidance on applying for a UK visa: approved English language tests

When will this change take place?

The change in the UK government policy will be effective from 6 April 2015. Until 5 April 2015, you can sit an IELTS test anywhere in the world and the result can be submitted to UKVI with your application until 5 November 2015.

IELTS tests approved for UK Visas and Immigration

IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training
The IELTS test you take – and the score you need – will depend on both your visa requirements and/or the requirements of the institution where you plan to study or work.

  • IELTS Academic
    IELTS Academic measures English language proficiency needed for an academic, higher learning environment. The tasks and texts are accessible to anyone, irrespective of your subject focus.

The Academic format is, broadly speaking, for those who want to study or train in a university that teaches in English at undergraduate or postgraduate level, or institutions of higher and further education. Many professions (e.g. medical, nursing, accounting, engineering) also require an Academic test result for registration purposes in many countries.

  • IELTS General Training
    IELTS General Training measures English language proficiency in a practical, everyday context. The tasks and texts reflect both workplace and social situations. The General Training version of the test is typically for those who are going to English-speaking countries to do secondary education, work experience or training programs. This version of the test is also often a visa requirement if you are planning to migrate to English speaking countries including Australia, the UK, Canada and New Zealand.

If you are taking the IELTS Academic or IELTS General Training test for UK visa applications, you will need to make sure that the test is taken at a UKVI approved test centre. IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training tests for UK visa applications and non-UK visa applications are the same – same content, examiners, format, level of difficulty, scoring and so on.

IELTS Life Skills
IELTS Life Skills is a test of Speaking and Listening, available at CEFR Level A1 and CEFR Level B1. It is designed to meet the requirements of UK Visas and Immigration for certain visa categories and other immigration purposes.

For more information about IELTS Life Skills, please visit
www.ieltsidpindia.com/----

It is strongly recommended that you check with the English language requirements with UK Visas and Immigration.

IELTS test and score required for UK visa applications

Please note that if you need an IELTS test for UK visa applications, you can only take them at a UKVI approved IELTS test centre. IDP Education India Pvt. Ltd is a UKVI approved test centre and we offer all the approved IELTS tests for UK visa applications. To register for a test, please visit: www.ieltsidpindia.com/----

Before you book your test, we strongly recommend that you check with the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) on the test that you will be required to submit for your application. Please visit Guidance on applying for a UK visa: approved English language tests for more information

As a guide, you can use the following table:

Visa description 
(United Kingdom only)
CEFR level required Skills IELTS test and score required
Tier 1 (General) visa C1 Reading, Writing Speaking, and Listening IELTS - 7.0 overall, and for each of the four skills
Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa B1 Reading, Writing Speaking, and Listening IELTS - 4.0 overall, and for each of the four skills
Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa B1 Reading, Writing Speaking, and Listening IELTS - 4.0 overall, and for each of the four skills
Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa B1 Reading, Writing Speaking, and Listening IELTS - 4.0 overall, and for each of the four skills
Tier 2 (General) visa B1 Reading, Writing Speaking, and Listening IELTS - 4.0 overall, and for each of the four skills
Tier 2 (Sportsperson) visa A1 Reading, Writing Speaking, and Listening IELTS - 4.01 overall, and for each of the four skills
Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) visa B2 Reading, Writing Speaking, and Listening IELTS - 5.5 overall, and for each of the four skills
Tier 4 (General) student visa - below degree level
(Please read the important note on Tier 4 student visa.)
B1 Reading, Writing Speaking, and Listening IELTS - 4.03 overall, and for each of the four skills
Tier 4 (General) student visa - degree level and above
(Please read the important note on Tier 4 student visa.)
B2 Reading, Writing Speaking, and Listening IELTS - 5.53 overall, and for each of the four skills
Family of a settled person visa A1 Speaking and Listening IELTS Life Skills at A1 - Pass
Indefinite leave to remain (to settle) or citizenship2 B1 Speaking and Listening IELTS Life Skills at B1 - Pass

1 IELTS is accepted by UKVI at band scores 4.0 and above, equivalent to CEFR level B1.
2 UKVI will accept a test on the SELT list or an Ofqual regulated test for this immigration category. The test must cover Speaking and Listening at B1 level.
3 Scores mentioned above for TIER 4 categories are the requirement of UKVI. Universities and colleges may require a higher band score for the course that you are applying for. Please check with them on the band score requirement for your course.

Please note that these changes do not affect the use of IELTS by people from the European Union, European Economic Area, Switzerland and ‘majority English speaking countries’ as defined by the UK Home Office (https://www.gov.uk/english-language).

Important note for Tier 4 Student Visa
This recent visa change does not apply to Tier 4 student visa. Those who are applying for a Tier 4 student visa to a Highly Trusted Sponsor (HTS) to study a bachelor or postgraduate degree are required to meet the English language level set by the institution. All British universities and colleges accept IELTS results. This means that you do not need to take the IELTS test under UKVI specified condition, unless your institution has required you to.

Please check with the institution that you are applying to for their admission requirement. Visit:
Official list of British Universities and Colleges with Highly Trusted Sponsor Status

Frequently Asked Questions (Test Takers)

IELTS used for UK Visas and Immigration

Which IELTS test do I need if I am applying for a UK visa application?
If you are applying for a UK visa, there is an IELTS test for you.

For visa applications to the UK, you may need to have an English language qualification. IELTS and IELTS Life Skills are included on both the UK Home Office’s list of Secure English Language Tests (referred to as SELT tests by UK Home Office) and the OFQUAL register.

It is recommended you check all visa requirement information directly with the UK government website.

To find out whether you need to take an approved test, what level you need to achieve, and which test you can use, you should contact UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). For more information, please visit Guidance on Applying for UK Visa – approved English language tests.

As a guide, you may refer to the table on here www.ieltsidpindia.com

What do I need to do if I am applying to study at a British university or college?
Those who are applying for a Tier 4 student visa to a Highly Trusted Sponsor (HTS) to study a bachelor or postgraduate degree are required to meet the English language level set by the institution. All British universities and colleges accept IELTS results. This means that you do not need to take the IELTS test under UKVI specified condition, unless your institution has required you to.

Official list of British Universities and Colleges with Highly Trusted Sponsor Status

Can I use any IELTS test result for UK visa application?
If you wish to use an IELTS or IELTS Life Skills test result as part of your application for UK visa purposes (apart from some types of student visa), you may need to take the test at an IELTS test centre which is specifically authorised by UK Visas and Immigration for this purpose, and the test must be taken under conditions specified by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI).

You will receive an IELTS – or IELTS Life Skills – Test Report Form which shows that you have taken your test to meet the UKVI requirements.

How often is an IELTS or IELTS Life Skills test available?
For IELTS and IELTS Life Skills, test dates will be available within 28 days of booking your test. The frequency of IELTS and IELTS Life Skills testing for UK visa and immigration purposes varies by location.

How often can I re-take IELTS or IELTS Life Skills?
There are no restrictions on retaking IELTS. You can register for a test as soon as you feel you are ready to do so.

If you pass IELTS Life Skills, you cannot retake it for a period of two years. If you do not pass it, there are no restrictions on retaking the test.

How is my IELTS test different if I take it for UK visa purposes?
The IELTS test for UK visa purposes is designed to meet certain administrative requirements that are specified by UK Visas and Immigration. Test Report Forms will be slightly different, to show that test takers have taken the test at an IELTS UK visa session. The actual test taken is the same – same content, examiners, format, level of difficulty, scoring and so on.

If I take an IELTS test for UK visa purposes, can I use my result in other countries / for other purposes?
Yes. IELTS test results are accepted by more than 9,000 organisations worldwide, including universities, colleges, governments and employers.

I’ve already taken IELTS. Can I still use my result to apply to UK Visas and Immigration?

If you take IELTS on or before 5 April 2015 you may be able to use it for your application up to 5 November 2015. We advise you to confirm this with UKVI before making your application.

From 6 April 2015 you must take the test at an IELTS test centre authorised by UKVI to run IELTS tests for UK visa and immigration purposes and you must confirm at the time of registration that you wish to use your test for UK Visas and Immigration.

For more information on IELTS Life Skills, please visit
www.ieltsidpindia.com/about_lifskills&UKVI_IELTS

IELTS Life Skills

What is IELTS Life Skills? What is it for?
IELTS Life Skills is a test of Speaking and Listening, available at CEFR Level A1 and CEFR Level B1. It is designed to meet the requirements of UK Visas and Immigration for people applying:

  • As Family of a settled person visa
  • For indefinite leave to remain (to settle) or citizenship

To find out whether you need to take the IELTS Life Skills test and the level you need to achieve, you should contact UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). For more information, please visit Guidance on Applying for UK Visa – approved English language tests.

What is the format of the IELTS Life Skills test?
You take the test with another test taker and one Examiner. Your own performance on both speaking and listening will be assessed during this one session.

Why does IELTS Life Skills only cover Speaking and Listening?
The new test has been designed to meet specific immigration requirements for which applicants only need to demonstrate speaking and listening skills.

How long does the IELTS Life Skills test take?
IELTS Life Skills at CEFR Level A1 takes 16-18 minutes and Level B1 is 22 minutes.

Is there any break between Speaking and Listening?
No, you will be assessed on your Speaking and Listening skills at the same time.

How is IELTS Life Skills assessed?
A certificated IELTS Examiner will assess your performance throughout the Speaking and Listening test based on the following criteria:

  • obtaining information
  • conveying information
  • speaking to communicate
  • engaging in discussion

The performance of the other test taker paired with you in IELTS Life Skills test does not affect the assessment of your own performance

How can I prepare for the IELTS Life Skills test?
Free test samples will be available here shortly.

How many copies of IELTS Life Skills Test Report Form will I get?
You will receive one copy of the IELTS Life Skills Test Report Form.

How soon will I get my IELTS Life Skills results?
Test results are normally available within seven (7) days of your test.

For more information on IELTS Life Skills, please visit www.ieltsidpindia.com/about_lifskills&UKVI_IELTS

 

IELTS Life Skills - Speaking and Listening


IELTS Life Skills is for people who need to show that their English speaking and listening skills at Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) levels A1 or B1.

Before you register for your test you should check the English language requirements for your visa category. Please visit Guidance on Applying for UK Visa – approved English language tests for more information.

How to register

How to register for IELTS Life Skills - Speaking and Listening

From April 2015 IELTS Life Skills will be available at this test centre.

To find a suitable test date and register for an IELTS Life Skills test, please visit www.ieltsidpindia.com

What’s in the test? Overview

  • IELTS Life Skills is available at two levels:
  • IELTS Life Skills – A1 Speaking and Listening
  • IELTS Life Skills – B1 Speaking and Listening

Face-to-face Speaking and Listening test
You will take the test with an examiner, and with one other test taker.

The tasks in IELTS Life Skills are designed to reflect the everyday experience of communicating in an English-speaking country. You will be expected to take part in short discussions on everyday subjects including:

  • Personal details/experiences
  • Family and friends
  • Buying goods
  • Work
  • Health
  • Leisure
  • Education/training
  • Transport
  • Housing
  • Weather

The focus of IELTS Life Skills

At each level, the test is designed to assess whether you can listen and respond, make your meaning clear, and talk with other people. 

A1  
Focus: You will be expected to:

  • listen and respond to spoken language, including simple narratives, statements, questions and single-step instructions
  • communicate basic information, feelings and opinions on familiar topics
  • talk with another person in a familiar situation about familiar topics.
Tasks may include: 
  • describing
  • giving opinions
  • giving personal information
  • stating preferences
  • commenting
  • asking for information or descriptions
  • agreeing and disagreeing
  • explaining, giving reasons or justifying
  • deciding
  • suggesting
  • selecting
B1
Focus: You will be expected to:

  • listen and respond to spoken language, including straightforward information and narratives, and follow straightforward explanations and instructions.
  • communicate information, feelings and opinions on familiar topics, using appropriate formality.
  • talk with one or more people in a familiar situation, making relevant points and responding to what others say to reach a shared understanding about familiar topics.
In addition to the A1 tasks shown above, the B1 tasks may include:
  • comparing
  • showing contrast, cause, reason or purpose
  • prioritising
  • planning
  • persuading
  • narrating
  • asking about past or future events
  • expressing future certainty or possibility

FAQs

How will I be assessed in the test?
You will be assessed on your ability in four key areas:

  • Obtaining information
  • Conveying information
  • Speaking to communicate
  • Engaging in discussion

At times during the test, you will be allowed to take notes to prepare your answers. The examiner will not mark your notes – only your speaking and listening skills are marked during the test.

At what level is IELTS Life Skills?
IELTS Life Skillsis available at A1 and B1 levels of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). This is an international standard used around the world to describe learners’ language skills.

What happen during the test?
There are two main parts to IELTS Life Skills:

  • In the first part, you are expected to ask and answer questions on familiar topics.
  • The second part is a combined listening and speaking task.
    • At A1 and B1 level, you will listen to a task played on a CD.
    • Completing the task allows you to show your ability to listen for both the general meaning and detail.
    • You will say your answers, although you can makes notes on paper while you listen to the CD.
    • There will then be a discussion on a theme related to what you have listened to on the CD. 
  • Additionally at B1 level, there is also a task where you plan an activity with the other candidate.

Why do I take the test with another candidate?
IELTS Life Skillstests how well you can communicate with other people in everyday English. The best way to test these skills is to pair test takers at a similar level of ability, so you can show how well you can speak English to communicate and engage in discussion with others.

How long is the test?
ForIELTS Life Skills, you only need to attend one short session to complete the test. The times allowed for each level are:

  • IELTS Life Skills - A1 Speaking and Listening 16–18 minutes
  • IELTS Life Skills - B1 Speaking andListening 22 minutes.

Free support materials

 

Sample Papers

Level

Files

IELTS Life Skills Sample Paper A

A1

Download now (PDF, 4MB)

IELTS Life Skills Listening Sample A

A1

Play now (MP3, 657KB)

     

IELTS Life Skills Sample Paper B

A1

Download now (PDF, 4MB)

IELTS Life Skills Listening Sample B

A1

Play now (MP3, 661KB)

     

IELTS Life Skills Sample Paper A

B1

Download now (PDF, 391KB)

IELTS Life Skills Listening Sample A

B1

Play now (MP3, 1MB)

     

IELTS Life Skills Sample Paper B

B1

Download now (PDF, 391KB)

IELTS Life Skills Listening Sample B

B1

Play now (MP3, 1MB)

Test dates

Test dates for IELTS Life Skills
To find a suitable test date and register for an IELTS Life Skills test, please visit www.ieltsidpindia.com

Results

Results for IELTS Life Skills tests
Test results are normally available within seven (7) days of your test.

You will get one of two results:

  • Pass
  • Below pass

A fail result means that you have not been successful and your test cannot be used for your visa application.