Britain to use English test IELTS for imitation system

March 11th, 2008 - 8:18 pm ICT by admin  

Chennai, March 11 (IANS) The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) has been approved for use in the British immigration system. Over 938,000 candidates took the IELTS in 2007, and numbers have almost doubled in the last three years, driven by university entrance requirements, new immigration policies and professional recognition throughout the English-speaking world.

The test has now been granted approval for use in Britain’s new points-based immigration system, a British Council release said here Tuesday.

The points-based system groups potential immigrants into five “tiers”, the recent approval of IELTS certificates is for tier 1 - highly skilled migrants such as doctors, scientists or entrepreneurs, which will replace the existing Highly Skilled Migrant Programme.

As part of the application process, applicants are required to provide evidence of their English language abilities.

The government has now approved IELTS at a band score 6.5 and above as suitable to verify that ability. At tier 1, applicants need to demonstrate English language skills equivalent to level C1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations.

The IELTS test is a key element of the British Council’s English language work overseas. IELTS is now used by over 6,000 organisations worldwide, with recognition in the US now topping 1,300 institutions.

“We are delighted that IELTS has now been granted approval for use in the UK’s new points-based immigration system,” said Martin Deavidson, chief executive officer British Council.

“The feedback we get from universities and government agencies around the world is that IELTS is a particularly good test of how well a person knows English, as it gives a thorough picture of their skills in speaking, listening, reading and writing, in a way that’s relevant to how the language is actually used for work and study,” said Beryl Meiron, executive director of the IELTS International in the US.

“This means that they can rely on IELTS scores when selecting candidates for courses or ensuring that potential immigrants have the language skills they need in order to succeed,” the official said.

The ELTS is jointly managed by British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations.

IELTS tests are available up to 48 times a year at authorised test centres in India.

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