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More language test centres open for UK visas

Pearson has been busy opening 57 of the 72 new Secure English Language Test (SELT) centres which have been approved by the UKVI, the British immigration authority.

Under the new SELT rules introduced in 2019, migrants must take a secure test from one of five approved exam boards, including Pearson, and the tests must be taken in the specially approved SELT centres run by each board

Pearson has two exams approved for visa and immigration: PTE Academic, which covers all four skills and is taken for student visas and working visas and, for people coming to the UK to join family or to apply for settlement and citizenship, it offers PTE Home, which tests speaking and listening skills.

The new Pearson SELT test centres include eight in the UK, 15 in India and others in countries as diverse as Algeria, Egypt, Hong Kong, Japan, Palestine, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sweden and Switzerland, to name just a few.

Pearson has a total of 384 test centres offering PTE Academic worldwide, but most are not SELT centres. The test is accepted by universities across the world and, even in the UK, universities have the right to choose which academic tests prospective students will take and where they should take them.

With the Covid-19 pandemic, however, test centres have been opening and closing and opening again, depending on local restrictions, and numbers for those taking the PTE were down 36% in 2020 compared with 2019.

“It has been and continues to be a very fluid situation,” says Kasia Reardon, director, corporate affairs, at Pearson.

There are five Secure English Language Tests (SELT) approved for official purposes by the UKVI, the UK immigration authority. Each provider offers two tests: one for immigration and visa purposes, the second for family reunion visas and citizenship purposes. The exams must be taken at a Secure English Language Test centre run by the relevant provider. IELTS SELT Consortium – available in the UK or overseas.


  • Life Skills

Language Cert – available in the UK or overseas:

  • Language Cert International ESOL SELT
  • Language Cert International ESOL SELT speaking and listening

Trinity College London – available in the UK only:

  • Integrated Skills in English (ISE)
  • Graded Examinations in Spoken English(GESE)

Pearson – available in the UK or overseas:

  • Pearson PTE Academic UKVI
  • Pearson PTE Home

PSI Services (UK) Ltd – available overseas only:

  • Skills for English UKVI (four components)
  • Skills for English UKVI (two components)
Image courtesy of Library
Melanie Butler
Melanie Butler
Melanie started teaching EFL in Iran in 1975. She worked for the BBC World Service, Pearson/Longman and MET magazine before taking over at the Gazette in 1987 and also launching Study Travel magazine. Educated in ten schools in seven countries, she speaks fluent French and Spanish and rather rusty Italian.
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