Skip to main content

English Language

Volume 504: debated on Thursday 21 January 2010

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills how many English language schools provide language training to a standard sufficient for students to meet language criteria in visa applications. (304562)

In 2008/09 (provisional), there were 468 providers (including colleges, local authorities and other organisations) in England with Learning and Skills Council (LSC) funded learners on English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) courses at Entry Level (1,2 and 3), Level 1 or Level 2.

The speaking and listening component of ESOL qualifications at Entry Levels 1, 2 or 3 can be acceptable evidence for the purposes of indefinite leave to remain or citizenship.

The legal requirement for visa applications is to provide evidence of the achievement of a qualification through one of the approved ESOL awarding organisations who must ensure that all colleges and centres offering ESOL qualifications are delivering the full course. Ofqual is the interim independent regulator for qualifications in England and will become the permanent regulator from 1 April 2010). Their duty is to ensure that all qualifications, including those for ESOL, are of an appropriate standard; and to take action with awarding bodies if they are not.

The UK Border Agency works closely with Ofqual to ensure that the appropriate standards are maintained. The UK Border Agency maintains a list of organisations licensed to sponsor migrants under the points based system and copies will be placed in the Libraries of the House.