Tower Hamets Training centre organised a press conference on 3st March to update the community members and media on new English requirement for settlement and British Citizenship.
In the beginning Roberto Foth, Head of Language at Hamlets Training Centre, Barrister (NP) Solicitor Mohammed Abul Kalam, and Deborah Perry, English Language Teacher and Examiner were introduced to the attendees who later addressed the audience.
Jamal Ahemd, Director of Tower Hamlets Training Centre said that Home Office introduced ESOL, English for the Speakers of Other Languages as a mandatory requirement in settlement or citizenship applications along with Life in the UK Test. Since 28 October 2013, only few awarding bodies are approved by the Home Office to take these tests. According to the immigration rule APPENDIX KOLL , from 28 October 2013, all Ofqual approved English Language Test Providers (awarding bodies) were given approval to take these tests along with other secure language test providers for spouse , business or student visa. Current English Language requirement for settlement or citizenship is B1 or above. Besides these, the A1 test also became a mandatory requirement to apply for spouse visa or further leave to remain since July 2011. He also said that , according to Home Office & BBC panaroma last year, one of the American test Provider’s TOIEC test was removed from the approved test providers’ list due to serious misconduct in the examination process and candidates who took these tests at implicated test centres are still being arrested or asked to retake the test.
Jamal Ahmed also said that with the support of the community and co-operation from the media Hamlets Training Centre has been working for the community by providing high quality training. He also said that the organization has been accredited by the British Accreditation Council BAC and approved by many awarding bodies including English Speaking Board ESB, Trinity College London, Education Development International EDI, Chartered Institute of Environmental Health and many other awarding bodies. The organisation also provides Home Office approved English Language Tests for settlement or citizenship such as B1 English Language Tests.
The speaker also said that over the last few weeks he personally received a huge number of telephone calls, emails, messages on social media, and he has met a number of people to answer the question whether there is a change in English language requirement. He mentioned that there is no other change yet in English language requirement for settlement or citizenship applications since the change happened in October 2013. The awarding bodies or English Language Test providers that are listed in immigration rule APENDIX KOLL remain the same. From April 6, 2015 there is a change in approved awarding bodies ONLY for specific categories such as student visa, Business visa OR Spouse visa but no change in approved awarding bodies for settlement or British citizenship.
He them continued that SELT tests are taken by people who need to demonstrate their English language proficiency for the purpose of obtaining a visa to work, study at a recognised educational establishment or to settle in the UK. Further details can be found on the UK government website www.gov.uk
In a summary , B1( CEFR) English Language Test or above and Life in the UK test are still mandatory requirement for settlement or citizenship application for an adult aged 18 or over and 65 apart from certain exception . For spouse visa, A1 test is still mandatory requirement from a Secure Test Provider.
The speakers also said that from the statistics of the last few years test results, it was clear that about 25-30% candidates fail their Life in the UK test due to not having enough preparation. Feedback received by the UK English Language Test providers ( awarding bodies) that those candidates who are failing their A1 or B1 test do so mainly due to not having any initial assessment and due to lack of preparation. The failing rate will increase in near future if candidates continue to turn up at the exam centre without having sufficient preparation. According to the Language experts and examiners from various awarding bodies it is advised to the candidates to have an initial assessment in their English before they book their test and take sufficient training before they sit the exam.