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					Research Student Administration   PBS FAQ Supplement    June 2011




             Research Student Administration Supplementary
                       PBS Statement and FAQ:




Changes to the UKBA Points Based System (Tier 4 route)
English Language requirements for June 2011 entry
onwards and the impact on University of Leeds
admissions process




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Research Student Administration       PBS FAQ Supplement                                      June 2011

1. Changes to immigration rules

In 2010 the UK Government began a review of the immigration system and the outcome of the
study route (known as Tier 4) review was announced at the end of March 2011.

The main change is that for applicants wishing to enter the UK on a General Student Visa,
sponsors now have to vouch for the applicant’s English language competency, ensuring
that they align to UK Border Agency’s minimum requirements. This change is with immediate
effect.

This paper provides an overview of the change and outlines the UK Border Agency’s (UKBA)
minimum English language level and implications for the issue of visas.


2. UKBA New English Language Requirements and Visa implications

UKBA have confirmed that a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) issued by a Tier 4
sponsor on or after 21st April 2011 must confirm that an applicant meets a minimum level of English.
The required level can be assessed either through a Secure English Language Test (SELT) or
another form of English language qualification. The main SELTs for PGR being IELTS and internet
based TOEFL. There are other SELTs available: a full list can be accessed from the following link
on the UKBA website:
http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/newsfragments/45-new-list-of-english-language

For applicants wishing to study at degree level or above, the minimum level is now expressed as
Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) level B2. UKBA state this is equivalent to:
            an IELTS score of 6.0* overall (with no less than 5.5 in any component score)
            or an iBT TOEFL of 87 overall (with no less than 21 in listening, 22 in reading, 23 in
               speaking and 21 in writing)

This means that all applicants, other than those in the UKBA exemptions list (see Appendix 1) will
require a University statement on their CAS showing how they have met the CEFR level B2 above.

UKBA have confirmed that Higher Education Institutions who hold Highly Trusted Sponsorship
(HTS) such as UoL, are allowed to assess an applicant’s English in other forms such as an Indian
XIIth certificate, if they have studied a Bachelor or Masters degree in an English speaking country,
or through the completion of a pre-sessional English language course at Leeds University.

Please see Appendix 1 comparing UKBA’s minimum English language requirement with the
University Research Degree minimum English language requirements. Highlighted in red, are those
components where UoL’s requirements do not meet the minimum SELT level determined by UKBA.
In summary, there is a misalignment between the University minimum requirements and UKBA’s
minimum requirements.

Ultimately, this means that although an applicant may have met the University requirement for entry
onto their chosen programme of study back in January 2011, they may not meet UKBA’s April 2011
requirement. So whilst their offer from the University still stands, if we were to generate a CAS for
an applicant in this situation, they would not be granted a visa for entry into the UK.

We are currently working on possible solutions for the small number of applicants in receipt of
offers, who are affected by the SELT misalignment. Further information regarding this and any other
action the University is taking with regards to the UKBA announcement is detailed in the questions
below.

*Please be aware that the University’s minimum English Language requirements for PGR students requires
an overall score of 6.0 in IELTS. Some Schools do, however, already require a higher score.
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Research Student Administration         PBS FAQ Supplement                                       June 2011
Please note that all of the proposed University action regarding these UKBA announcements
is subject to change as there is intensive lobbying of UKBA to press for transitional
arrangements for 2011/12 entry. If UKBA changes its position, the new University
arrangements may be reviewed.

Additional questions about the UKBA changes

        1. Which non-UK/EEA applicants are affected by the UKBA English language minimum?

Only those applicants who have submitted a SELT where their scores fall below the UKBA English
language minimum will be affected.


        2. Which non-UK/EEA applicants are NOT affected by the UKBA English language
           minimum?

  i.       Those applicants who have submitted an English language qualification (included in the RP
           Admissions Policy) other than a SELT are not affected at all as the University is allowed to
           assess applicant’s English language through any qualification they deem eligible to meet
           CEFR level B2 for entry onto degree programmes or above. Examples of this is are
           applicants using an Indian Standard XIIth, any students using their degree studied in an
           English speaking country, etc.

  ii.      Those applicants who have submitted a SELT and scored above the UKBA English
           language minimum.


        3. Are we going to increase the University’s English language requirements to align with
           the UKBA’s minimum?

           YES - From June 2011 new RP applicants must meet the language levels of UKBA. For
           example, overall 6.0 IELTS with all components at 5.5.

We will not amend the existing offers for those applicants who applied before June 2011 and have
met the University minimum requirements.


        4. Will the English language misalignment between the University and the UKBA affect
           those applicants for 2012 entry onwards?

RSA will write to people who hold offers for 2012 entry to inform them of UKBA changes and any
changes made to English Language entry requirements for research study.


        5. Are the UoL offers we have already made for 2011 still valid?

All of our UoL offers are still valid (and will continue to be so for 2011) as they refer to the University
requirements for entry onto each programme of study. But it is the new UKBA requirements that
have caused a problem for our applicants who need to obtain a student visa. To reiterate, we will
not need to issue any replacement UoL offers in response to the UKBA announcement. However in
order for the University to issue a CAS, the applicants must sit a new University Language test or
resit IELTS or iBT TOEFL. (see question 6 & 7 below).




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Research Student Administration          PBS FAQ Supplement                                         June 2011
    6. What will happen to non-UK/EEA applicants who are unconditional for their chosen
       programme of study (having taken a SELT), but have not met the UKBA English
       language minimum?

RSA is communicating with these applicants and reassuring them that their unconditional offer with
the UoL is safe, but there is a problem with English Language and UKBA. RSA is informing
applicants of the options open to them and how the UoL is supporting them to meet the UKBA
minimum English language requirement. Research Student Administration has identified those
applicants who hold an unconditional offer but who do not meet the UKBA English language
minimum.


    7. What are the options being explored regarding supporting non-UK/EEA applicants
       who do not meet the UKBA SELT minimum?

For unconditional offer holders the Language Centre has produced a credible UoL English
language test which can be administered at a distance for those applicants who are affected. If the
applicant is down on speaking or listening ability scores then the test will take the form of a Skype
interview. There will also be a written/reading test which will be used for applicants who are lower in
those areas than UKBA’s minimum. The tests will be operated by staff with IELTS experience and
will follow an IELTS style format. Most applicants have previously prepared for such a test. The
result of the test will be held on file for UKBA audit purposes.

Only those applicants who hold an unconditional accepted place on their chosen programme of
study will be eligible for this additional test. If an applicant fails this test, they are allowed one re-sit,
but after that it would become the responsibility of the applicant to meet the UKBA minimum
through re-taking a SELT. The administration/communication of this test is being administered by
RSA and the Language Centre.


    8. What will happen to non-UK/EEA applicants who hold a conditional offer?

Those who hold conditional offers because they have met the UoL minimum English Language
requirement (but not UKBA’s) and have yet to provide evidence of meeting their academic
conditions, have been advised by RSA of the new UKBA regulation and of any action to be taken –
this may involve them sitting the University’s Language Centre test at a later date once their
academic offer becomes unconditional (if they have not already re-taken IELTS by that stage).

Other applicants who hold a conditional offer either for academic and language conditions or
language only, have been contacted and informed of the new UKBA regulations and encouraged to
re-take IELTS or TOEFL where possible. However in exceptional circumstances, where it is
practical, we may also still be able to offer the Language Centre test.


    9. What about new non-UK/EEA applicants?

These applicants will receive offer letters as normal, but the language condition will match that of
UKBA minimum. This applies to offers made after June 3rd 2011.


    10. What English language evidence can we accept for 2011 entry onto PGR degree
        programmes?

UKBA have confirmed that Higher Education Institutes can assess applicants’ English language
through any qualification they deem eligible to meet CEFR level B2 for entry onto degree
programmes or above (for examples see Question 2, Indian Standard XII etc). We now have to

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Research Student Administration      PBS FAQ Supplement                                     June 2011
upload to the UKBA CAS producing system how an applicant’s English language level has been
assessed.


   11. What does this mean for those non-UK/EEA applicants who were previously exempt
       from English language according to the RP Admissions Policy exemptions list (for
       example most African countries) but are not included on the UKBA exemptions list?

The majority will not need to take/provide an additional English language qualification. We see
these applicants falling into two categories as set out below (the first covering the majority).

          i.   What English language evidence can we accept from graduates of countries
               included in the RP Admissions Policy exemptions list, but not on the UKBA
               exemptions list? (see Appendix 2 for UKBA Exemptions list)

               For those applicants who have graduated from a country included on the RP
               Admissions Policy exemptions list we would state the applicant’s degree (or
               equivalent) as evidence of their English language attainment, as this will have been
               delivered through the medium of English.

         ii.   What English language evidence can we accept from applicants whose
               nationality is included on the RP Admissions Policy exemptions list, but not on
               the UKBA exemptions list, but have graduated from a country not included in
               either list?

               In this circumstance we would need further evidence of the applicant’s English
               language. For the most part we would ask for evidence of the highest level of English
               language qualification they took before applying for entry onto a degree level course,
               i.e. first degree, A-level or GCSE equivalent. For example, if we had an applicant
               whose nationality was Nigerian whose highest qualification was a Bachelor degree
               from France, we would then ask for their WAEC (West African Examination
               Certificate) or A-level/ GCSE equivalent.


   12. What English language evidence can we accept for entry onto pre-sessional English
       language courses?

All of those applicants whose entry is conditional on English and who wish to study a pre-sessional
English language course through the Language Centre must have a minimum of CEFR level B1 for
entry. The UKBA have announced this must be evidenced through a Secure English Language
Test (SELT). No exceptions are allowed.


   13. When will we begin issuing non-UK/EEA applicants with a CAS for 2011/12?

We began to issue the CASs from 1st June for applicants who meet all the necessary criteria for a
CAS.


   14. How does recording the non-UK/EEA applicant’s English language information affect
       a CAS being generated?

The University will need to have assessed and entered into Banner the applicant’s level of English
language attained. It must then be stated on the CAS that the applicant has achieved English
language at the relevant CEFR level and by what means. The University is expected to keep
records of all of the applicant’s scores for the purpose of being audited by UKBA. Therefore the
University must be confident that the applicant has fully achieved CEFR level B2 or above.
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Research Student Administration      PBS FAQ Supplement                                   June 2011




   15. Where will the non-UK/EEA applicant’s English language be recorded?

ISS have been working on a development within Banner so that all of the English language SELT
information for applicants can be recorded primarily through a drop down list within the Banner
screen SOATEST, and any qualifications such as for example first degree from a British University
etc are recorded as free text within SAAADMS. This will be completed by the RSA when the
recommendation report is received from the school. Please see appendix 3 for example screen
shots of SOATEST and SAAADMS.

RSA have checked the English language levels for all September and October applicants and have
provided all of the necessary information for a CAS to be generated where appropriate.


   16. How are we identifying those non-UK/EEA applicants who need English language
       data inputting into Banner?

All non-UK/EEA applicants must have verified English language data recorded in SOATEST or
SAAADMS within their Banner record for a CAS to be generated. RSA will run a Missing Data
report (SWRBAMD) on a daily basis to identify any new Unconditional applicant who is ready for a
CAS and needs the English language information entering onto their record. At this time, we will be
identifying those applicants who have submitted a SELT and have not met the UKBA requirement;
these applicants will be contacted as required.


   17. What communications are being sent to non-UK/EEA applicants who have already
       been identified as those who are affected by the UKBA minimum?

RSA have been e-mailing applicants to inform them of the situation and the options available to
them.


   18. What do I do if I receive a query from a non-UK/EEA applicant who holds an
       unconditional offer with the UoL and has noticed that the SELT they have submitted
       to meet the English language requirements for their chosen programme of study is
       too low to meet the UKBA English language minimum?

We want to ensure all applicants are receiving the same message regarding the UKBA changes
from all departments/areas of the University. Please forward the query to RSA who will respond to
the applicant.


   19. What do I do if I receive a query from a non-UK/EEA applicant who holds a conditional
       offer or is a potential applicant and has noticed the misalignment with the UoL and
       UKBA SELT requirements?

Please forward the query to RSA.


   20. Should schools update their websites with the UKBA English language
       requirements?

Yes – a separate circular about new English Language requirements has been circulated to
Schools.
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Research Student Administration      PBS FAQ Supplement                                        June 2011


   21. Should schools contact those non-UK/EEA applicants affected by the UKBA
       minimum?

No - RSA will contact all offer holders to alert them to the misalignment between University
requirement and the UKBA minimum.



   22. Should schools contact agents about the UKBA change?

A communication has already been sent to our overseas representatives, so they are aware of the
UKBA announcements. Agents have been assured that applicants will receive a communication
shortly.


   23. Who can I contact for further information about the UKBA changes to PBS?

Please contact Leanne Carr (l.carr@adm.leeds.ac.uk), or Katherine Goodchild
(k.h.goodchild@adm.leeds.ac.uk)



    24. Miscellaneous Research Student Visitors

The Advice on International Research Student Visitors Circular (number 664) will be updated and
circulated in the near future.
It will also be placed on http://www.leeds.ac.uk/rsa/policies.html

As we understand the current position, subject to further clarification by UKBA, the new English
language criteria will also apply to miscellaneous students coming to the University of Leeds for a
period of over 6 months (and hence require a CAS).

Those students coming for under 6 months can enter the UK on a student visitor visa instead – the
new visa rules do not apply to this category.


  25. Research Student Administration English Language Booklet

For information on the University’s English Language requirements, please see our booklet which
can be found at:
http://www.leeds.ac.uk/rsa/admissionsandregistration/forstaff/english.html




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Research Student Administration         PBS FAQ Supplement                                  June 2011


Appendix 1: UKBA/University English comparison table


                         UKBA CEFR level B2        RP University Standard   RP English equivalent to
                             minimum                 English minimum          IELTS 6.5 with 6.0 in
                                                                                  components
    IELTS over all                6.0                        6.0                       6.5

    IELTS reading                 5.5                        5.5                      6.0

    IELTS writing                 5.5                        5.0                      6.0

    IELTS speaking                5.5                        5.0                      6.0

    IELTS listening               5.5                        5.5                      6.0

    Ibt TOEFL over all            87                         83                       94

    Ibt TOEFL reading             22                         20                       23

    Ibt TOEFL writing             21                         21                       24

    Ibt TOEFL                     23                         20                       23
    speaking
    Ibt TOEFL                     21                         18                       20
    listening

Green - meets UKBA minimum; Red - does not meet UKBA minimum




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Research Student Administration              PBS FAQ Supplement                                                   June 2011
Appendix 2: UKBA English language exemptions

*Exemptions
          those who have previously completed a qualification equivalent to a UK degree
            whichwas taught in English in a majority-speaking country (including where the
            qualification was taught in the UK and Ireland); or
          those who are nationals from a majority English-speaking country

 The majority English-speaking countries are:
   Antigua and Barbuda
   Australia
   The Bahamas
   Barbados
   Belize
   Canada (this does not include non-Canadians who have previously completed a qualification equivalent to a UK degree which
       was taught in English)
   Dominica
   Grenada
   Guyana
   Jamaica
   New Zealand
   St Kitts and Nevis
   St Lucia
   St Vincent and the Grenadines
   Trinidad and Tobago
   United States of America.




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Research Student Administration   PBS FAQ Supplement   June 2011


Appendix 3: SOATEST and SAAADMS screen shots

SOATEST




SAAADMS




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Research Student Administration           PBS FAQ Supplement                                             June 2011

Appendix I Draft CAS PDF e-mail
Student ID:         29999999                                                 Date:   25/03/2010

Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) Statement
Applicant Details:
CAS Number:                       E4G1XY3A05L0A1
Last Name:                        Smith
First Name:                       John
Middle Name:
Gender:                           Male
Date of Birth:                    08/02/1978
Nationality:                      Botwanan
Country of Birth:                 Botswana
Passport Number:                  N454380
Sponsor Details:
Licence Number:                   H3GNC03A4
Course Details:
Course Start Date:                01/06/2010
Expected Course End Date:         31/05/2014
Course Level:                     Doctor of Philosophy
Secondary Course Level:           Research Postgraduate
Course Title:                     History
Course Fee for First Year:        £10300
ATAS Certificate required:        No
Documentation used to obtain the offer:

Qualification Evidence: MA in History from University of Oxford
English Evidence Assessed at CEFR Level B2: MA in History from University of Oxford

For IELTS/TOEFL alternatively it may say:
English Evidence Assessed at CEFR Level B2: IELTS Overall Score 6.0 IELTS Reading Score 6.0 IELTS writing Score
6.0 IELTS Listening Score 6.0 IELTS Speaking Score 6.0
OR: English Evidence: This applicant is from a majority English language speaking country, as defined by the UKBA
list



Yours sincerely


Student Records Officer
Research Student Administration
Email: rp_applications@leeds.ac.uk
Tel: +44 (0)113 343 6534
Example CAS June 2011




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