The English language requirement for ILR is something all migrants should check before submitting their application for settlement. The Home Office have a requirement for the majority of applicants to show they meet the knowledge of life and language in the uk before the migrant can be granted Indefinite Leave to Remain. This criteria for their Indefinite Leave to Remain has cause quite a big of problems for some applicants. The problem stems from applicants not understanding that there are two parts of the knowledge of life and language in the uk that have to be satisfied and that the English language part of the criteria can be met in a few different ways.

Life in the UK Test

The Life in the UK test is required by practically all applicants. Unless you are under 18, over 65 or applying as a bereaved partner, you will have to take this test. It is not particularly difficult, though the majority of British citizens probably don’t know half the answers, but can be passed with a few weeks study. Once you pass the Life in the UK test you have met this component of the knowledge of life and language in the uk. The next component is the English language section.

How can I satisfy the English language requirement for ILR?

Many applicants in the past have assumed that the Life in the UK test means they have also satisfied the English language criteria. Unfortunately, this is incorrect and would result in the ILR application bring rejected. There are many ways to meet the English language requirement for Indefinite Leave to Remain, depending on your circumstances.

Majority English speaking country

The Home Office has a list of countries where they deem their citizens to be majority English speaking. This doesn’t mean that if you grew up in a country that has multiple languages, but you think English was the majority then you satisfy this requirement for the English component of ILR. Many applicants fall for this trap. Countries like India, but especially South Africa have a huge amount of English speaking citizens, but they are not on the list. Below you can see the list of current countries deemed by the Home Office to meet the English Majority speaking criteria.

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • The Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Canada
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Jamaica
  • New Zealand
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • United States of America

Degree taught in English

If you have a degree taught in English you may be able to use it to apply for your ILR application to meet the English language requirement. The issue with this option is that now all degrees are equal and the cost required to prove your degree meets the requirements. First, If your degree is from the UK then you meet the requirement. There is nothing else to do as your UK degree such as a BA/BSC/MBBS or masters and PhD meet the Home Office requirements. Diplomas, HNDs and certificates do not meet the requirement. If your degree is from overseas then you need to apply to NARIC to get it firstly considered equal to a UK degree and secondly that it was taught in English. Many overseas degrees are not considered equivalent to a UK degree and are classed as ordinary degree which is one level below a bachelor degree. It is usually cheaper and easier to meet the requirement through an English language test.

New SELT English Language Test

The majority of migrants will take and use the new Secure English Language Test to meet the requirements. This test must be currently at level B1 (may go up in the future so check) and must be taken at an approved English language test provider. The two big providers are Trinity college and IELTS. The results are sent direct to the Home Office so they can check online, but you also get a certificate mailed to you. Even if you have a degree from overseas, sometimes the fees for an English language test are cheaper and it’s quicker to book and get it than waiting months for MARIC to respond, still with the uncertainty that your degree will meet the English Language requirement for ILR

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