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New test for many UK visa applicants

From this year, a number of UK visa applicants will have to take a new test to demonstrate their English language skills.

education Updated: Apr 02, 2015 15:12 IST
HT Education Correspondent

From this year, a number of UK visa applicants will have to take a new test to demonstrate their English language skills. The test —International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Life Skills — will be introduced for applicants who need to prove their speaking and listening skills at level A1 or B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR).

At each level, the test is designed to assess whether you can listen and respond, make your meaning clear, and talk with other people. The 16-18 minute A1 level test will assess the applicants’ knowledge on family, hobbies, transport, health, leisure and weather among others, while the 22-minute B1 level test will gauge the applicants’ opinions and views. Besides this, the UK government has also announced important changes to language testing for visa applications, reducing the number of tests accepted for visa purposes and bringing in new requirements for the way the tests will be administered.

IELTS will continue to play an important role in language testing for immigration in the UK and other countries, including Australia, Canada and New Zealand. IELTS tests for visa purposes can only be taken at authorised centres. When a test is booked, the applicant must specify what the test is for and ensure that the centre is authorised to run tests for that purpose. A list of the authorised test centres can be found on For more information on the UK visas and immigration announcement, visit: and for information on IELTS Life Skills test, visit here.

What’s new
Under the new arrangements, IELTS tests for UK visa applications will be offered throughout the year in more than 100 key locations worldwide
IELTS has been approved for all UK visas that require applicants to provide proof of their level of English