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New Secure English Language Tests for UK migrants

Migrants to the UK will benefit from the expansion in the number of Secure English Language Test (SELT) centres and the wider choice of exams on offer, following the announcement that the government have revised their SELTs list, as reported in the January Gazette. The new system is expected to go live in April.

Migrants entering the UK for family reasons, or those seeking status who are in the UK already, are expected to take a set of English Language tests in speaking and listening, benchmarked to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, known as the CEFR.

The familiar Graded Examination in Spoken English (GESE), from Trinity College London, has been given permission to expand the number of its UK Exam Centres, and the IELTS Life Skills Test of Speaking and Listening also remains on the list.

Phil Bond, General Manager of SELT at Trinity, said they were, “looking forward to being able to expand our testing services to more locations around the country.”

Two new test providers have been added to the SELT list of providers who can now offer two-skill exams at A1, A2 and B1 for UK migrants. Already well-known in language schools, PeopleCert exams in Speaking and Listening can now be taken in approved test centres run by Prometric, while Pearson are launching a new low-level two-skill test known as PTE Home which, like all Pearson tests of English, will be computer-marked.

Currently, non-EU citizens entering the UK to marry or enter into a civil partnership, or to join family members, are required to pass a SELT at A1, those still here 2.5 years later need to pass at A2 while B1 is needed to acquire ‘Settled Status’, as permanent residency is now known.

It takes 200 to 400 classroom hours to improve your English by one CEFR grade across all four skills, based on a study conducted by the pathway provider INTO with Cambridge Assessment.

EU Citizens resident in the UK before January 2021 are not required to take language tests, but the language requirements will apply to all migrants after that date.

Image courtesy of UK PARLIAMENT
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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