“One area of great concern for the whole UK education system is the risk that people may misunderstand the requirements for Tier 4 student visas”
Blandine Bastie, Regional Manager for UK and Ireland at Cambridge English, clarifies the status of Cambridge English exams for entry into UK universities.
We do understand the government’s desire to simplify the system for language testing for UK visas and the IELTS partners are working very hard to ensure that there is adequate capacity to meet the needs of visa applicants worldwide.
One area of great concern for the whole UK education system is the risk that people may misunderstand the requirements for Tier 4 student visas. We think it’s extremely important that universities can choose how they assess that candidates meet the requirements, and the current legislation gives education institutions the freedom to do this.
For example, one question I get asked a lot is: Are Cambridge English exams still accepted by UK universities? The short answer is yes (under certain circumstances of course). To clarify when Cambridge English exams can be used, we recently published a statement, but in a nutshell, here goes.
Candidates applying for a Tier 4 visa in order to study at degree level and above at a Tier 4 sponsor university are only required to present the proof of English language level that the university requires. This means that UK universities can continue to accept Cambridge English exams, including Cambridge English: Advanced and Proficiency, at undergraduate and postgraduate level.
So when do UK Visas and Immigration require people to take a test from the list of Secure English Language Tests? For courses below degree level, universities need to accept an approved SELT from non-EU international applicants. The IELTS test – which we jointly own with British Council and IDP: IELTS Australia – is included on UKVI’s SELT list. For UK visas and immigration purposes, IELTS will need to be taken under specified conditions at centres which are specifically approved for this purpose.
Obviously we’d recommend that students planning to study at a UK university check the entry requirements with the university itself and the UKVI, but I hope this post has been helpful.