Applicants must obtain foreign qualifications assessments

8 Mar 16

UNITED KINGDOM

IMPACT – MEDIUM

What is the change? As of April 6, applicants for points-based visas will no longer be able to use the Points Based Calculator self-assessment tool to determine if they meet the English language requirements. UK Visas and Immigration Service is eliminating the calculator as of April 10.

What does the change mean? Applicants who have not achieved a degree from a deemed English-speaking country will need to obtain an assessment of their qualifications from the National Recognition Information Centre (NARIC), an agency that provides advice on international qualifications.

  • Implementation time frame: April 6.
  • Visas/permits affected: All points-based system visas (Tiers 1, 2, 4 and 5), spousal visas, settlement (indefinite leave to remain) and naturalization.
  • Who is affected: Non-EEA nationals applying for points-based visas, settlement and naturalization, who wish to use an overseas degree or qualification in support of their U.K. visa application.
  • Impact on processing times: Overall time frames will be longer due to a need to obtain an English language assessment from NARIC in advance of receiving confirmation that the degree meets the English language requirements.
  • Business impact: Tier 2 visas may take longer and cost more, as applicants will have to be assessed by NARIC and pay for certification prior to having confirmation that the degree meets the requirements. If NARIC deems the degree insufficient for the English language requirements, the individual may then need to bear the additional time and cost of sitting for an English language test.
  • Next steps: Those applying for their visa from now until April 5 may continue to use the Points Based Calculator. Those who require a UK NARIC Statement of Comparability or English Language Assessment may apply with NARIC. Starting April 6, NARIC will launch its qualifications assessment service at this website.

Background: UK Visas and Immigration announced that it is phasing out the self-assessment tool due to cost. NARIC will take over the assessment of academic qualifications for immigration purposes beginning April 6.

At present it can take up to 10-15 working days to receive an English Language Assessment. A fast-track option (at additional cost) can expedite processing to 24-48 hours.

BAL Analysis: Employers should expect longer timelines for Tier 2 applications and all points-based applications, as they will need to go through an extra step of obtaining certification through NARIC and also an English language test, if necessary.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group in the United Kingdom. For additional information, please contact uk@balglobal.com.

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