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Work in the UK

UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) uses the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) to gauge a visa applicant’s language proficiency level in the Points-based System (PBS). The PBS allows migrants to apply to work or study in the UK via one of five tiers.  If applying under Tier 1 or 2, migrants are required to provide proof of their English language ability.  IELTS is an approved English language test which can provide this proof.

Visa description CEFR level required Skills IELTS test and score required
Tier 1
Entrepreneur visa
B1 Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening IELTS – 4.0 overall, and for each of the four skills
Tier 1
Graduate Entrepreneur visa
B1 Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening IELTS – 4.0 overall, and for each of the four skills
Tier 2
General visa
B1 Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening IELTS – 4.0 overall, and for each of the four skills
Tier 2
Sportsperson visa
A1 Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening IELTS – 4.0 overall, and for each of the four skills
Tier 2
Minister of Religion visa
B2 Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening IELTS – 5.5 overall, and for each of the four skills

Work Visas: The Points-based System

UK Immigration’s Points-based System (PBS) is the tool used to manage applications by individuals who wish to work, train or study in the UK.  Within the PBS, there are different employment routes available to foreign nationals:

Tier 1 (Entrepreneur)

The Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa is for highly-skilled migrants who want to set up or take over, and be actively involved in, the running of a business in the UK. You can score 10 points on your English language proficiency by obtaining at least CEFR level B1 (IELTS overall band score 4) in reading, writing, speaking and listening.  

Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur)

The Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa is intended for recent graduates that want to set up a business in the UK. You can score 10 points on your English language proficiency by obtaining at least CEFR level B1 (IELTS overall band score 4) in reading, writing, speaking and listening.  

Tier 2 (General)

The Tier 2 General Visa is the best option for most students hoping to work in the UK after their studies. Tier 2 of the PBS in the UK is for skilled migrants with a job offer.  You can score 10 points on your English language proficiency by obtaining at least CEFR level B1 (IELTS overall band score 4) in reading, writing, speaking and listening.  

Tier 2 (Minister of Religion)

You can apply for a Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) Visa if you have been offered a job within a faith community (e.g. as a minister of religion, missionary, or member of a religious order) in the UK. You can score 10 points on your English language proficiency by obtaining at least CEFR level B2 (IELTS overall band score 5.5) in reading, writing, speaking and listening.  

Tier 2 (Sportsperson)

The Tier 2 (Sportsperson) Visa is for elite sportspeople and coaches whose employment will make a significant contribution to the development of their sport at the highest level in the UK. Applicants must be internationally established at the highest level of their particular sport.  You can score 10 points on your English language proficiency by obtaining at least CEFR level A1 (IELTS overall band score 4) in reading, writing, speaking and listening.  

For more details, please visit the UK Government's website. 

 

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