English Language Requirement for a Skilled Worker Visa

How Can I Meet the English Language Requirement for a Skilled Worker Visa?

Mar 29, 2024
Last Updated on May 21, 2024

One of the key criteria that must be met by overseas nationals applying for a UK Skilled Worker visa is the English Language requirement. If you are planning to apply for a Skilled Worker visa in the coming weeks or months, it is important to understand the details of the English language requirement and how you can meet it. Many applicants meet this requirement by completing and passing an approved English language test, however, this may not be necessary depending on your age, nationality, and educational background. In this article, we will explain everything that you need to know about meeting the English language requirement for a UK Skilled Worker visa.

What is the Skilled Worker visa English language requirement?

As a UK Skilled Worker visa applicant, you must demonstrate that you are proficient in English. There are several ways that you can meet the English language requirement, including:

  • Passing an approved English language test
  • Being exempt from the English language requirement
  • Having met the requirement in a previous application
  • Being a national of a majority English-speaking country
  • Have a suitable academic qualification that was taught in English and
  • Having a GCSE or A-Level in English 

Each of these ways of meeting the English language requirement for a Skilled Worker visa is explained in detail below.

Passing an approved English language test

One of the most common ways that Skilled Worker visa applicants meet the English language requirement is by passing an approved English language test. The rules state that you must be able to read, write, speak and understand English to at least level B1 on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) scale. B1 is considered to be intermediate-level English language proficiency. 

The CEFR guidelines state that level B1 means that a person can “Understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc. Can deal with most situations likely to arise whilst travelling in an area where the language is spoken. Can produce simple connected text on topics which are familiar or of personal interest. Can describe experiences and events, dreams, hopes & ambitions and briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans”.

You will need to provide a valid digital reference number from a UK government-approved provider showing you have passed a Secure English Language Test (SELT) to the required level. It is important that this requirement must have been met in the two years before the date of your Skilled Worker visa application.

Being exempt from the English language requirement

You may be exempt from the Skilled Worker visa English language requirement if you are under 18 or over 65 years old or if you have a physical or mental disability which prevents you from meeting the requirement.

Having met the requirement in a previous application

If you have already demonstrated to UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) that you meet the English language requirement at CEFR level B1 in a previous visa application, you will not need to do so again. Your prior immigration application must have been successful for this rule to apply.

Being a national of a majority English-speaking country

You will automatically meet the Skilled Worker visa English language requirement if you are a national of a majority English-speaking country. These countries are as follows:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • The Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • The British Overseas Territories
  • Canada
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Jamaica
  • Malta
  • New Zealand
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • United States of America

If you have dual nationality, you will also meet this requirement if one of your nationalities is on the majority English-speaking country list. 

To prove this requirement has been met, you will need to provide your passport, suitable travel document, valid national ID card or another valid proof of your nationality.

Have a suitable academic qualification that was taught in English

Another way to meet the Skilled Worker visa English language requirement is by having a degree or higher level academic qualification that was taught in English. The rules state that you must have one of the following:

  • A bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or doctorate awarded in the UK or
  • A degree or degree-level qualification taught in a university or college in a majority- -English-speaking country listed above (with the exception of Canada) or Ireland. To meet the requirement, the degree must have been delivered to the recognised standard of a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or doctorate awarded in the UK or
  • A degree or degree-level qualification which meets (or exceeds) the required standard of a UK bachelor’s degree or
  • A master’s degree or doctorate taught or researched in English.

To prove you meet this requirement, you will need to provide a certificate from the awarding body, a transcript from the university or college, or an official letter from the university or college.

Having a GCSE or A-Level in English

According to ‘Appendix English’, you will meet the English language requirements for a Skilled Worker visa if you have a GCSE, A level, Scottish National Qualification at level 4 or 5 or Scottish Higher or Advanced Higher, in English gained during education in a UK based school while under 18. The English qualification can be in either English language or English literature. You must be able to show that the award was made by an Ofqual (or SQA, Qualifications Wales or CCEA) regulated awarding body. To demonstrate you meet the requirement, you can provide a certificate from the awarding body or an official transcript issued by the awarding body.

Final words

Many Skilled Worker visa applicants already meet the English language requirement without realising it, either through their nationality or a degree taught in English. If you are unsure if you meet the English requirement for a Skilled Visa in the UK, consider speaking to an immigration Solicitor who can check this for you and recommend the best steps to take if necessary.

A Y & J Solicitors is a specialist immigration law firm with extensive experience with all types of visa applications. We have an in-depth understanding of immigration law and are professional and results-focused. For assistance with your visa application or any other UK immigration law concerns, please contact us on +44 20 7404 7933 or at contact us today. We’re here to help!

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