One of the changes to the Immigration Rules, as introduced by the new Statement of Changes, is that the Approved list for English Language Test centres will be shortened as of 6 April 2015.
Certain individuals applying for leave to enter or remain in the UK are required to demonstrate an appropriate level of English Language. Examples include individuals coming to work, study or as a partner of a British citizen applying under Appendix FM. The specific English language tests approved for this purpose are listed in Appendix O to the Immigration Rules. Following a tender exercise in 2014, new licences to operate English language tests are being issued by the Home Office, and the list of approved tests in Appendix O has now been amended accordingly. The new Appendix O is implemented with effect from 6 April 2015 for all tests taken after that date. Furthermore, changes to the Immigration Rules and Appendix A, AF, B, FM and KoLL will now allow test results to be rejected if they have not been taken in an approved test centre.
English Language tests will only be permitted to be taken at Trinity College London (in the UK only) and IELTS SELT Consortia (in the UK and the rest of the world.) English Language Tests such as Pearson PTE Academic and ESOL, that have been a fixture on the previous Approved lists, will no longer be accepted.
The Home Office are however including transitional measures to allow individuals who took an English language test approved for immigration purposes before 6 April to use the result in support of an immigration application up to 6 November 2015. This seven month transitional period should be sufficient for an application to be made. Alternatively, it allows the applicant enough time to re-sit an approved English Language Test.
There is an outstanding issue of whether approved tests taken pre-6 April 2015 for entry clearance will need redone at the point of extension or settlement. The Home Office have yet to clarify this issue.
If you have any queries about the upcoming changes in April, please feel free to contact us.