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English language test providers to be asked to re-tender for contract | Immigration Matters

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The Home Office has announced plans to carry out a major ‘re-tendering’ shake-up for approved secure English language test providers this summer.

The re-tendering exercise basically means that all providers will have to reapply for their contracts and prove they are capable of providing genuine English language secure tests.

The UK Home Office wants to ensure all approved providers offer a high quality service, with ‘secure and consistent tests and testing arrangements’.

The move is expected enhance the ‘security requirements and establish more robust criteria for the administration of English language tests’, the Home Office said.

Recent ‘English spot checks’ by Entry Clearance Officers (ECO’s) at British Embassy visa posts  on student visa applicants in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh have resulted in high refusal rates due to poor English communication skills.

The results, whilst not conclusive, indicate that whilst some student visa applicants may be holding IELTS scores of 6.00 and 6.5, their actual ability to speak English may not match the figures on their certificates.

However, there has been criticism of the way ECO’s are conducting their so-called English test, especially when most are not qualified to do so.

Private colleges have reported that a high percentage of student applicants from India and Pakistan are being refused visas on the basis of a few questions fired at them by an ECO behind a plate glass screen.

The re-tendering process will affect secure English language tests for:

  • Tiers 1, 2 and 4 of the points-based system; and
  • Spouses and partners of British citizens and persons settled in the UK.

Full of the re-tendering exercise and the mandatory requirements organisations must meet, please see the Home Office or UK Border Agency commercial partners page.

Last month the Home Secretary Theresa May announced that the UK Border Agency will be abolished with immigration work returning to the Home Office, after telling MP’s that “its performance was not good enough“.

If you have been arrested or detained, need any immigration advice or are worried about the new immigration rules or need help with Sponsorship or Tier 1, 2, Tier 4, applying for university if your college has closed, Spouse Visa, ILR/Settlement, Citizenship, Dependant Visa or an appeal against a refusal, or if you have been waiting for a reply from the Home Office for longer than a year, please email: 

info@immigrationmatters.co.uk or visit www.immigrationmatters.co.uk for free immigration news updates.

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