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Languages

Question for Home Office

UIN 73106, tabled on 13 July 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment has she made potential merits of including a university degree (a) mostly taught and (b) researched in English from universities throughout in the world in meeting the B1 threshold of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.

Answered on

21 July 2020

The Government believes those seeking to make a permanent home in the UK should be equipped to integrate successfully in UK society, with an appropriate level of English and an understanding of British life.

By the time they apply for citizenship, all applicants are required to have passed the Life in the UK (LitUK) test and have an English language speaking and listening qualification in English at B1 or higher on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, or an equivalent level qualification.

The life in the UK handbook is only available in English, but the test can also be taken in Welsh or Scots Gaelic, which are the only other languages specified in statute as requirements for naturalisation. There are no plans to change this to include other languages.

Regular amendments are made to the LitUK handbook to ensure the content and related test questions remain factually accurate. The 2019 revision of the handbook made several amendments to update the handbook and clarify issues identified by the House of Lords Select Committee on Citizenship and Civic Participations and others.

The Home Office works with the test provider to monitor test performance to ensure the test remains effective. The Home Office has made no specific assessment of the long-term effect the Life in the UK test has on promoting British values or improving integration.

The Home Office is currently considering the case for reviewing the Life in the UK handbook. Any decision to commission a fourth edition of the handbook will be dependent on the outcome of a review of the current handbook.

As set out in the ‘UK’s Points-Based Immigration System Further Details’ published on 13 July, we already recognise academic degrees which have been taught or researched in English as being sufficient proof of English ability at any level and will continue to do so in the future system.

Applicants for immigration and citizenship can generally show their English language ability by passing a Secure English Language test, having a degree taught in English or being a national of a majority English speaking country. We continue to assess the merits of alternative methods of proof to ensure we have a robust system which guarantees migrants can speak, read, write and listen in English to the required level.

Answered by

Home Office