UK: Language assessment tool for some visa applicants to be retired

On or after April 6, 2016, the free Points-Based Calculator (PBC) tool – used by visa applicants whose university classes were conducted in English as the first step in proving their English language proficiency –  will be replaced by a new online service provided by the UK National Recognition Information Centre (UK NARIC). Related documentation suggests the service will require a fee, but costs are not yet known.

Background

Tier 2 work visa and other Points-Based System applicants can use a qualifying degree certificate to demonstrate English language proficiency.  Currently, applicants can verify that their degree certificate qualifies on the PBC using information collected by the Home Office from UK NARIC. The new service will shift the requirement to obtain verification to the applicant.

How the New Service Will Work

Visa applicants will have to create an online account and upload electronic copies of their degree, transcript and other documentation.

  • A paper statement confirming that the academic qualification level and/or English language proficiency is appropriate for the applicant’s immigration route will be issued.
  • Some applicants will need to obtain and submit two statements - a qualification statement and an English language statement.
  • Applicants will be required to submit a physical statement from UK NARIC in support of their visa application and UK Visas and Immigration will use the statement as part of the visa assessment process.

The new service is expected to have a 10-day processing time as opposed to the 15-day turnaround time for other UK NARIC services.

Immigration advisers and those applying on behalf of multiple applicants will be able to utilize a new premium corporate service that will offer account support.

What This Means for Foreign Nationals

Visa applicants whose university classes were taught in English should be prepared to use the new service once it is online. Applicants not from an English-speaking country or whose university classes were not taught in English will still need to take an approved English language test in their home country.

Stuart Beaty

Celsium, Birmingham, UK