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Immigrants: English Language

Volume 487: debated on Thursday 29 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proportion of those who have taken the English language test for immigrants have (a) passed and (b) failed the test since its introduction. (251476)

It is assumed that the question refers to the Life in the UK test.

For the period October 2005, when the test was introduced, to October 2008:

69.9 per cent. of tests have resulted in a pass

30.1 per cent. have resulted in a fail.

These figures relate to the number of tests taken and not the number of candidates taking the test as candidates who fail may take the test as many times as they wish.


Figures provided by Ufi Ltd.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department for what reasons her Department has decided to exempt foreign footballers bought by British football clubs from completing the English language test for a year; and what other conditions apply exclusively to footballers immigrating to this country. (251477)

There are provisions for sports people under Tier 2 and Tier 5 of the points based system. Those entering under Tier 2: Sport need to meet an English language requirement, while those entering under Tier 5 will not. This is due to the temporary nature of Tier 5. Those entering under the Tier 5: Creative and Sporting sub-category, are granted leave for a maximum of 12 months. These routes are available to all sports.

We have provided arrangements exclusively for footballers to enable them to switch from Tier 5: Creative and Sporting into Tier 2: Sport without having to leave the UK. This is because we have recognised that the tight time scales around the transfer window mean that not all football players will have time to take an English test to prove that they are able to meet the English language requirement for Tier 2: Sport. Therefore they will be able to switch in country from Tier 5 to Tier 2 once they can prove they meet the English language requirement.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what score is required to pass the English language test for immigrants; and what the procedure is when an individual fails the test. (251478)

The pass mark for the ‘Life in the UK test’ is set at around 75 per cent. Applicants failing the test are required to wait a minimum of seven days before they are able to sit the test again. Those who wish to sit the test again need to book a new test date and time with their test centre and pay the test fee again.

Those applicants who feel they did not pass the test because of their level of English have the alternative option of attending an ESOL with citizenship course at their local further education college.