Exam, Visa & Immigration News Archives

UK Home Office Approved English Test

News from Trinity College London:

A number of adjustments to the UK Immigration Rules have recently been announced by Immigration Minister James Brokenshire.

This announcement does not affect Trinity’s GESE and ISE exams, which remain on the UK Home Office list of approved English Language Tests. Please be aware that these exams can only be taken in a Registered Trinity SELT centre if being used for UK visa purposes.

The changes in the Immigration Rules, as described in sections 2.1 and 7.15 from the Statement of Changes, relate to Trinity’s ESOL Skills for Life exams only, and are effective from 1 August 2014.

For full details, please consult the Statement of Changes document on www.gov.uk website.

We are pleased to inform you that if you are applying for citizenship and settlement you can still prove this by having: an English qualification at B1 level e.g. GESE Grade 5. Book your GESE Grade 5 B1 test today in the North of England using this website.

 

B1 Test for UK Citizenship

The B1 Test for UK Citizenship

Becoming a British citizen is the dream of thousands of immigrants every year. To become a UK citizen, individuals must fulfill the naturalization or testing requirements. An individual may apply for citizenship through naturalization if he or she is over 18, has sound mind, has good character, intends on continuing to live in the UK and displays knowledge of English and has passed the Life in the UK test requirements.

B1 Testing Requirements

In June 2012, the UK implemented new standards that citizenship applicants must achieve. Those pursuing citizenship through Indefinite Leave to Remain or the Naturalization as a British Citizen route must pass the “Life in the UK Test” and “English Speaking and Listening Test” at the B1 level or above. The B1 level is an intermediate level.

Preparing a Topic for the B1 English test

For the speaking component of the test, a candidate must prepare his or her own topic to discuss for five minutes. The topics that a candidate may choose include hobbies, career, holidays and home country. The examiner will discuss the prepared topic with the candidate in English. He or she seeks to make sure that the candidate responds appropriately to questions, clarifies his or her statements and performs the required language functions. The examiner will make sure that the individual is able to talk in future tenses, provides opinions, discusses UK events and also states the reasons for his or her preferences. The candidate must also show that he or she can use proper grammar and expressive vocabulary.

In addition to the candidate’s chosen discussion, the examiner also has five minutes to discuss two chosen topics with the candidate. The examiner may choose two topics from subjects including events, festivals, means of transportation, entertainment, music or personal experiences.

There is no written component of the Home Office approved B1 exam required for UK citizenship at our  SELT B1 test centre in Sheffield for the north of England including South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, East Yorkshire, North Yorkshire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire.

B1 Test Results

Once the B1 test for UK citizenship has been completed, the results will be given to the individual on the same day. Certificates are sent by Trinity College to arrive within 7 days and you should therefore receive your certificate within two weeks. At the test site, one will need to show a current passport on the day of your exam.

B1 Test Preparation

We can help you prepare for the Home Office approved B1 test. Working with us can help you develop confidence in your speaking and listening abilities.

You can book your Home Office approved B1 test or exam preparation here

Immigration Bill becomes law

Immigration Act

In a news story from gov.uk  it is announced that the Immigration Bill received Royal Assent today (14 May) making way for a series of reforms which will ensure our immigration system is fairer to British citizens and legitimate migrants and tougher on those with no right to be here.

The Immigration Act 2014 contains 77 clauses and makes fundamental changes to how our immigration system functions.

It will limit the factors which draw illegal migrants to the UK, make it easier to remove those with no right to be here and ensure the Courts have regard to Parliament’s view of what the public interest requires when considering Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights in immigration cases.
Immigration Act

Immigration and Security Minister James Brokenshire said:

The Immigration Act is a landmark piece of legislation which will build on our existing reforms to ensure that our immigration system works in the national interest.

We are already planning its implementation and will ensure these measures are introduced quickly and effectively.

The Immigration Act will significantly enhance the way Border Force, Immigration Enforcement and UK Visas & Immigration undertake their work to secure the border, enforce the immigration rules and continue to attract the brightest and the best.

Highlights of the Immigration Act

Cutting the number of immigration decisions that can be appealed from 17 to 4, while allowing us to return certain harmful individuals before their appeals are heard if there is no risk of serious irreversible harm
Ensuring that the courts have regard to Parliament’s view of what the public interest requires when considering European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR) Article 8 claims in immigration cases – making clear the right to a family life is not to be regarded as absolute and unqualified

Clamping down on people who try to gain an immigration advantage by entering into a sham marriage or civil partnership

Requiring private landlords to check the immigration status of tenants, preventing those with no right to live in the UK from accessing private rented housing

Introducing a new requirement from temporary migrants with time-limited immigration status by requiring them to make a financial contribution to the National Health Service.

The Immigration Act will also include powers to prevent repeat bail applications when a removal is imminent, revoke driving licences held by immigration offenders and allow the Home Secretary to deprive a naturalised individual of their British citizenship if their actions have been seriously prejudicial to the interests of the United Kingdom and the Home Secretary has reasonable grounds for believing the person is able to become a national of another country.

The Immigration Act has been a collaborative effort, involving the Home Office, 12 other government departments, the devolved administrations and the Crown dependencies.

It also continues the Home Office’s work to reduce net migration by focusing on eliminating immigration abuse, including removing from the UK those with no right to be here and preventing others from entering.

There is more about the immigration bill here

Home Office immigration and nationality fees

New Home Office immigration and nationality fees from April 2014

The Home Office has published a document listing new nationality fees from April 2014. These are the latest Immigration and nationality fees for all applications made from outside and within the UK. This document tells you how much it costs to apply for a UK visa from 6 April 2014. It includes fees for all visas including:

visitor
work
student
settlement
naturalisation

This updates the fee change proposals made on the 3rd of February 2014 by the then Minister of State for Immigration (Mark Harper) for immigration and nationality applications made to the Home Office and for services provided by the department.

You can work out the cost of your UK visa application by using the visa fees tool on the Home Office website. There is a useful page there with links to lots of information about Visas and immigration.

New visa application forms in the UK

Forms for applicants for visas in the UK

New visa application forms have been published for use from 1st December 2013 by applicants who are already in the UK:

  • FLR (FP) – for use in place of the FLR(O), if you are applying for limited leave to remain in the UK on the basis of:
  • Family life as a partner on the 10-year route to settlement;
  • Family Life as a parent of a child in the UK (5-year and 10-year routes to settlement);
  • Private life in the UK;
  • Family or private life where you know you do not meet the requirements of the rules, but would like to apply anyway
  • FLR (AF) – leave to remain (Armed Forces)
  • SET (AF) – settlement (Armed Forces)

New versions of the following visa application forms have also been published:

  • FLR(O) – the revised form will not include categories now covered by the FLR(FP) and FLR(AF)
  • FLR(M) – leave to remain (partner)
  • SET(DV) – settlement (victim of domestic violence)

B1 Speaking & Listening exam / B1 test

In June 2012, the government announced changes to Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR or Settlement) and Naturalisation as a British Citizen routes, that will come into force from October 2013.

From October 2013, all applicants for ILR/Settlement must pass the Life in the UK Test and present an English language speaking and listening qualification at B1 level or above of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages unless they are exempt.

In June 2012, the government announced, From October 2013, all applicants for settlement will be required to demonstrate a knowledge of language and life in the UK by passing the Life in the UK test and by presenting a speaking and listening qualification at intermediate level (Common European Framework of Reference level B1) or above. This language requirement, together with acknowledge of the values that underlie British society, will help ensure that those who settle here are able to participate in British life and are better able to gain employment.

The speaking and listening qualification must be secure, robust and generally available in the UK. We will consider these criteria over the coming months and will publish details of acceptable speaking and listening qualifications early next year.
Now all applicants for settlement or naturalisation as a British citizen will need to meet the knowledge of language and life requirement by:

  • passing the life in the UK test; and
  • having a speaking and listening qualification in English at B1 CEFR or higher, or its equivalent.

For full details of the new requirement please see the 8th April 2013 statement of intent.

Trinity College has announced that their Graded Examination in Spoken English (GESE) Grade 5 in Speaking and Listening skills is suitable for Settlement (or ILR) and Naturalisation applications.

Trinity College GESE grade 5 is set at the B1 test level on the CEFR and at ESOL Entry level 3 on the NQF and has been regulated by the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual). It is accepted by the Home Office for Citizenship for definite Leave to Remain (ILR or Settlement) and Naturalisation routes.

Find more information about the B1 speaking and listening exam / GESE grade 5 from Trinity College at a B1 test centre

Find out when you can take the B1 test / ESOL Entry level 3 speaking and listening exam this week.

‘Knowledge of Language and Life’ requirements

Changes to ‘knowledge of language and life’ requirements and application details

A reminder that from 28th October 2013, unless they are exempt, all applicants for settlement or naturalisation as a British citizen will need to meet the knowledge of language and life requirement by:
• passing the life in the UK test; and
• having a speaking and listening qualification in English at B1 CEFR or higher, or its equivalent.

Trinity College GESE grade 5 exam is the equivalent to this English language B1 test.

For an application for British citizenship to be considered under the pre 28th October government requirements, the application will need to be received by UK Visas & Immigration by Friday 25th October 2013 (the last working day before the change). Please note they do not receive a postal delivery on Saturday or Sunday so be sure to allow plenty of time to get your application in.

There is more information on the gov.uk website – see announcements about Borders and immigration by UK Visas and Immigration

 

Changes to Immigration Rules

More Changes to the Immigration Rules

There are important changes afoot for immigration rules. Yesterday, Friday 6th September 2013, a written ministerial statement was laid in Parliament outlining a number of changes to those Immigration Rules.

The changes, which are planned to come into effect on 1st October 2013, will mean greater flexibility for businesses and workers and include:

  • removing the English language requirement for intra-company transferees;
  • making it easier for graduate entrepreneurs to switch into Tier 2;
  • waiving share ownership restrictions for some senior staff; and
  • allowing some students to work as interns under the Tier 5 government authorised exchange scheme.

Tourist and business visitors will benefit from the following changes:

  • Allowing tourists and business visitors to do some study where it is not the main purpose of their visit.
  • Expanding the activities a business visitor can do in the UK.
  • Removing the prospective student route.

Further changes include:

  • expanding checks to ensure applicants for work and student visas are genuine, and that they intend to meet the conditions of leave they apply for;
  • introducing powers to refuse Tier 4 extension applications where the applicant cannot speak English;
  • introducing a scheme which allows some locally engaged staff in Afghanistan to relocate to the UK;
  • setting new youth mobility scheme quotas for 2014;
  • enabling those who demonstrate exceptional promise in the arts to apply under Tier 1;
  • changes to the way we handle settlement applications for refugees who have committed crimes, and adding the power to curtail leave for persistent or serious offenders;
  • introducing temporary Immigration Rules so participants and personnel can come to the UK during the 2014 Commonwealth Games;
  • minor changes and clarifications to the Immigration Rules, including those relating to family life.

From 28 October there will also be changes to the way applicants for indefinite leave to remain are required to demonstrate their knowledge of the English language and of life in the UK. Applicants will need to pass the Life in the UK test and also an English Language Test  at an exam centre. The Trinity college speaking and listening B1 test, GESE grade 5 is an approved exam for this purpose.

Family Migrants Minimum Income Threshold

Minimum income threshold for family migrants

On the 5th July 2013, the High Court handed down its judgment in a Judicial Review of the minimum income threshold for spouses/partners and children applying in the family route.

The Home Office has paused decision-making on some spouse/partner and child settlement visa and leave to remain applications to enable us to consider the implications of the judgment.

A Home Office spokesperson said: ‘Our family changes were brought in to make sure that spouses coming to live in the UK would not become reliant on the taxpayer for financial support and would be able to integrate effectively. We’re pleased that this judgment supports the basis of our approach.

‘We are looking closely at the judgment and its likely impact on the minimum income threshold before we decide how to respond. In the meantime, where an applicant does not meet the minimum income threshold and there is no other reason to refuse it, the application will be put on hold.’

However, The Home Office today, 26th July 2013, filed its appeal against a High Court judgment on the minimum income threshold for spouses/partners and children applying in the family route.
The judgment affects non-EEA national spouses/partners and children applying to settle in the UK with someone who is already resident here.

The Home Office will continue to put on hold decisions in some spouse/partner and child settlement visa and leave to remain applications until the case is finally determined by the Courts.

A Home Office spokesperson said: ‘Our family changes were brought in to make sure that spouses coming to live in the UK would not become reliant on the taxpayer for financial support and would be able to integrate effectively. We are pleased that the High Court judgment of 5 July supports the basis of our approach.

‘However, we believe matters of public policy, including the detail of how the minimum income threshold should operate, are for the Government and Parliament to determine, not the Courts. We also believe the detailed requirements of the policy are proportionate to its aims. We are therefore pursuing an appeal against the judgment.

‘We have asked the Court of Appeal to expedite this. In the meantime, where an applicant does not meet the minimum income threshold and there is no other reason to refuse it, the application will be put on hold.’

You will find the latest information on the Home Office Website

 

 

UK Border Agency transition to Home Office

UKBA’s transition to the Home Office

On 1st April 2013 the UK Border Agency was split into two separate units within the Home Office: a visa and immigration service and an immigration law enforcement division.

The rationale is that by creating two entities instead of one, they will be able to create distinct cultures. First, a high-volume service that makes high-quality decisions about who comes here, with a culture of customer satisfaction for businessmen and visitors who want to come here legally. And second, an organisation that has law enforcement at its heart and gets tough on those who break  immigration laws.

Over time  the content from the UK Border Agency’s website will be moved to the Government’s digital service at www.gov.uk. In the meantime, new and updated content added will reflect the new Home Office structure and brand.

These organisational changes to the UK Border Agency do not affect the validity of any reference to the agency in any document or form on their website. The UK’s Immigration Rules will also remain in force.

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