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English language requirements tightening
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In parallel announcements the UK Border Agency has said that language requirements for Tiers 1, 2 and 4 of the Points Based System (highly skilled, skilled and students) are being tightened up slightly.
The concession that allowed Tier 1 and 2 applicants to make an in-country immigration application before sitting the language test is being withdrawn. This was introduced so that applicants already in the UK were not caught out by the change to the rules, but is being withdrawn because the requirement is now more common knowledge and tests are easier to arrange now that supply from test providers has caught up with demand.
Applicants for extensions under Tiers 1 and 2 should therefore now make sure they arrange their tests well in advance of the need to extend their visas. Some will no doubt end up being caught out by this change as they will not be keeping an eye on every change to the Immigration Rules and policy guidance – of which there are very, very many, with some major ones to come later this week apparently. An out of time application can always be made under the Points Based System, although it does mean sacrificing the now largely pointless right of appeal and a short period of overstay, which can be problematic later.
A number of technical changes are also being made to reflect changes to the way that various approved test providers label and conduct their tests.