The UK Home Office has increased the number of English language test providers who can offer Secure English Language Tests, with Pearson, IELTS, Trinity College London and PeopleCert all announcing commercial agreements to provide the SELTs.
Previously, TCL and IELTS were the only official providers, according to the Home Office’s website.
The SELTs are taken by people who need to demonstrate their English language skills to obtain British Citizenship, Settlement or a visa for work or study.
“Being chosen… further validates our ability and commitment to the provision of excellence”
UKVI, part of the Home Office, runs the UK’s visa service and manages around three million applications per year from overseas nationals.
It held a competitive procurement process, where bidders had to demonstrate capability in the fields of examination design, delivery and security, technical innovation and customer experience.
Pearson’s commercial agreements will run for three years and will be delivered through the Pearson Test of English Academic and PTE Home – a new speaking and listening test for family visa, settlement and citizenship applicants.
“We are proud that the UK government joins the Australian and New Zealand governments in recognising this test for visa applications, alongside thousands of leading universities across the globe who already accept it for study purposes,” said Rod Bristow, president of Pearson UK.
“Alongside this, our new English language test PTE Home has also been accepted by the UK government for those who need to prove their speaking and listening skills when applying for family visas, for instance.”
PeopleCert will deliver the SELTs in partnership with LanguageCert and Prometric. The actual tests will be provided by LanguageCert, which is an Ofqual regulated awarding organisation and a 100% subsidiary of PeopleCert.
Each of LanguageCert’s Home Office approved SELT exams has been independently assessed by the UK government’s designated authority, UK NARIC to ensure they accurately measure English language ability at the level required by UKVI.
The SELTs will be offered in all four skills – listening, reading, writing and speaking – and are also available across the two-skills of speaking and listening.
“Being chosen as an Approved SELT Provider by UKVI further validates our ability and commitment to the provision of excellence,” said Mike Milanovic, chairman of the LanguageCert Board of directors.
“The agreement with UKVI spearheads a new era for secure, innovative and user-friendly English language exams for those seeking to live, study and work in the UK.
“We are delighted with the outcome and look forward to our global rollout in April 2020,” he added.
Both IELTS and Trinity were reappointed as official test providers. Christine Nuttall, managing director IELTS at Cambridge Assessment English, said that the company has a proven track record.
“This announcement is testament to the ongoing value and trust placed in IELTS by the government and test-takers around the world,” said Nuttall.
Sarah Kemp, CEO of Trinity College London, also welcomed TCL’s reappointment.
“We are extremely proud… and are delighted to be able to build upon the excellent customer service standards that we provide here in the UK,” she added.