PDA

View Full Version : What English Test for Settlement (Spouse) Visa ?



pzh41
13th Apr 2011, 12:03
Hi all

I think I am really getting myself confused by all the inconsistant information on the UK Border Agency Website and also the VFS Thailand Website. (old links, different information, etc..)

Basically,
1) What English Language Test is required for the initial Settlement (Spouse) Visa ? (Getting really confused with all the talk about TOIEC, BULATS, etc..)
2) Who are the new providers in Thailand (Bangkok) now this has been reviewed ?
3) I assume it is still required to pass to A1 standards (Which is listening and speaking only) ?

Hope you can help
Peter

ddwjg
13th Apr 2011, 12:57
Peter, I'm as confused as you, and eagerly await a simple reply from someone.

Dave.

toddmeister
13th Apr 2011, 13:04
Hi Peter,

When will you be submitting the application? Any test centre on the "old" list is still valid until the 17th July. For example Visa2go who offered the EMD test recently posted saying that they have resumed testing until the end of May, but this is not accepted for any application made after 17th July. The link to test centres on the VFS website is still showing the old list. The new list on the UKBA website lists the approved tests but doesn't give the contact details for the centres in Thailand. I know for sure the BULATS (Cambridge ESOL) is on the new list and this is offered by Vantage-Siam. I just booked the BULATS for my gf to take next month.
http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/newsfragments/45-new-list-of-english-language

Regards
Steve

pzh41
13th Apr 2011, 13:18
When will you be submitting the application?

It will definately be after July - so it will be with one of the new test centres.

I think the reason I am getting confused is because the listings contain numerous "Tests" and each show writing and reading in the requirements for a pass mark. However, I think I am right in stating that, the basic tests for an initial settlement visa is only for listening and speaking.

I have sent an email to VFS-Thailand asking for the new list. I will post the results if I get a response.

Tobias
13th Apr 2011, 13:33
... I think I am right in stating that, the basic tests for an initial settlement visa is only for listening and speaking...

That's correct.

toddmeister
13th Apr 2011, 14:57
Hi,

We too are not submitting our application until later in the year but I want to get the test out of the way when I'm over next month. Thats why we have chosen the BULATS as it's on the new list and both the speaking and computer test can be done in one day (If done on a Friday). We also looked at the TOIEC but it seems like their two tests are only carried out on seperate dates. The other reasons we decided on the BULATS were:-
a) Vantage-Siam who are the agent in Thailand for Cambridge ESOL were very helpful supplying sample test questions etc. kevin@vantage-siam.com
b) the tests look reasonably simple, made up of a 15min speaking test and a 1hr computer test. Looks like the computer test involves listening to or reading a question on the computer and then clicking from multiple choice answers which are "adaptive" to the users level. The overall score then determines the level eg A1, A2 etc
c) at 5200baht its cheaper than some on the old list

If you're interested in the TOIEC I believe the test is given by CPA and I found this link on their website in relation to the new lsit http://www.cpathailand.co.th/a336215-toeic-and-toefl-tests-approved-by-u-k-border-agency

Cheers
Steve

ddwjg
14th Apr 2011, 04:00
and a 1hr computer test. Looks like the computer test involves listening to or reading a question on the computer and then clicking from multiple choice answers which are "adaptive" to the users level. The overall score then determines the level eg A1, A2 etc


Steve, I think this is where the confusion develops again. A lot of the prospective settlement visa applicants, cannot read one word of English, and are not computer literate. The fear factor will increase 10 fold.

Also, from a previous post on one of these threads, if a candidate gets a score of 0-19, in the BULATS test, they are assessed as A1. Yet I spoke to someone recently who knew someone who failed the BULATS test?

The OP, Peter, I think, is trying to find somewhere in Thailand, that just plainly does the 'speaking and listening' test for A1 assessment. Does this exist anywhere in Thailand, or the UK, as a seperate entity.

Thanks, Dave.

pzh41
14th Apr 2011, 16:34
Steve, I think this is where the confusion develops again. A lot of the prospective settlement visa applicants, cannot read one word of English, and are not computer literate. The fear factor will increase 10 fold.

To be honest, Yui will probably do better if the question is written down so she can read it. :angel:


Also, from a previous post on one of these threads, if a candidate gets a score of 0-19, in the BULATS test, they are assessed as A1. Yet I spoke to someone recently who knew someone who failed the BULATS test?

Not sure I read this correctly. Are you saying that a score of 0 - 19 is a pass ? Surely there MUST be a failure level? :o


The OP, Peter, I think, is trying to find somewhere in Thailand, that just plainly does the 'speaking and listening' test for A1 assessment. Does this exist anywhere in Thailand, or the UK, as a seperate entity.

Thanks, Dave.

Yes - sort of. I am also trying to determine WHAT test she will need to do (eg BULAT or TOIEC or ????) :D

ddwjg
15th Apr 2011, 01:56
Not sure I read this correctly. Are you saying that a score of 0 - 19 is a pass ? Surely there MUST be a failure level? :o



Well this is a quote from the post I was referring to, posted by Siam Andy. As follows ;


Originally posted by Siam Andy.

My gf took the BULATS test in Bangkok, which is Univ. of Cambridge based exam.

We were told that's it's a computer-adaptive test which was explained that the test adjusts or 'adapts' to the user level. So if you get an answer wrong, the next question will be easier as it drops a level and if you get it right it increases in difficultly.

To get a A1 on the BULATS you need to score from 0 to 19 (out of 100). There is no "pass" or "fail" as it only indicates language proficiency. And as A1 is the first level indicating a rank beginner, you can't score below A1.

They also gave us a complete package that tested all four language skills of reading, listening, speaking and even writing.

We got that for 5,200 baht.

What I like best was that we tested on a Friday and we had our certificates delivered by registered mail on Wednesday. (We could have had them on Monday if we elected to go back and pick them up.)


This is from a thread entitled "A1 English Test Certificate Received"

Maybe Siam Andy can elaborate on your question.

Dave.

Wolfy
15th Apr 2011, 06:02
A1 has always meant "top rating" in my mind, that's surely why this seems confusing.

prioritypress
15th Apr 2011, 18:04
For anyone doing the spouse/visa Test in the UK:

http://www.coex.org.uk/samples.html

http://www.coex.org.uk/audio/CIELT%20A1(Sample).pdf

One hundred pounds "cash". My gf is taking it on Monday, certificate issued the same day.

They are not on the new UKBA list.


Nick

EDIT - I phoned 5 or 6 Test centres. 3 just rung out. Absolute joke.

richardb
15th Apr 2011, 18:48
[QUOTE=They are not on the new UKBA list.
[/QUOTE]

No but Trinity College London who they are affiliated to are.

Richard

ps I would be interested to know whether the test she takes is listening and speaking or whether it involves reading and writing modules. Good luck to your GF by the way

prioritypress
15th Apr 2011, 19:40
Reading and Listening.

It's not a Trinity Test. It's CIELT (Certificate in English Language Test) which has now "disappeared" from the UKBA list.


Nick

colin244
15th Apr 2011, 22:54
I think UKBA have muddied the water so no one comes here ;)

colin 244

Tony M
16th Apr 2011, 02:58
Firstly, if you want to take the test in Pattaya then English Test Centres are still doing the test as agents for Mont Rose. Mont Rose do not appear on the new approved list from UKBA, but they are carrying out the test until the July cut-off date.

Secondly, I too fail to see how UKBA can have approved a test which is ( partly) not a test, as it has no pass or fail element. The BULATS computer test ( 60 minutes) requires only a mark of 0-19 to "pass". So, you could sit in front of the computer for an hour, doing nothing, and pass ? How can that be ?

richardb
16th Apr 2011, 10:44
Cheapest so Far at B2000

"Dear Richard,

Thank you for your enquiry.

The next KET (Key English Test) paper-based examination will be held on Saturday 4th June 2011 at Lycee Francais International de Bangkok. KET exam tests all 4 skills: reading, writing, listening and speaking. The examination fee is 2,000 baht non-refundable. The statement of results will be available on 23rd July and if the candidate passes the exams, certificate will be despatched on 13 August 2011.


Please feel free to call me on 089-137-1037 if she has any questions. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Best regards,

Chate

Chate Tohsanguanpun
Centre Exams Manager
University of Cambridge
ESOL Examinations
Direct: 089 137 1037"

I am looking to put together a definitive list of who provides what but realistically I think that I will have to wait till after the changes.

Richard

prioritypress
18th Apr 2011, 14:18
The gf took it today. Bit of a trot...but 5 minute walk from Greenford underground.

They must be raking it in...30 people all paying £100 "cash"...no receipt...no wonder they've had their accreditation removed :rolleyes:


Nick

pzh41
18th Apr 2011, 22:44
For anyone doing the spouse/visa Test in the UK...

All well and good - but we're looking for somewhere in Thailand (Bangkok) and still confused as to what actual test we should be looking for... BULATS, TOIEC, CIELT or now KET ????

colin244
18th Apr 2011, 23:20
pzh41

I think many of the people on here are as well but Visa2go said he would post when known. UKBA have not as far as I am aware issued the list yet for approved testers in LOS (someone on here will probably prove me wrong now) but it will no doubt be posted when issued.

Good luck when they do :thumb:

colin 244

ddwjg
19th Apr 2011, 00:12
Colin, it would appear that the UKBA only seem to list the approved governing bodies, and not individual test providers. I am sure someone will correct me if this is wrong.

Dave.

prioritypress
19th Apr 2011, 06:45
All well and good - but we're looking for somewhere in Thailand (Bangkok) and still confused as to what actual test we should be looking for... BULATS, TOIEC, CIELT or now KET ????

It doesn't matter...they are all judged to a common standard, the CEFR.

Personally, I would have thought TOIEC is the most well-known? :confused:

Decide the test, then contact the governing body and look for an "accredited" Test centre in Thailand for that qualification.


Nick

EDIT - The old Thailand list on the VFS website:

http://www.vfs-uk-th.com/images/A1_Testing.pdf

New UKBA list:

http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/documents/employersandsponsors/pointsbasedsystem/new-approved-english-language

pzh41
19th Apr 2011, 09:40
It doesn't matter...they are all judged to a common standard, the CEFR.

Ah... right... I think I've just had a lightbulb moment :D

prioritypress
21st Apr 2011, 08:55
She got her certificate..it says something like Spouse A1 Language Test on it.

A bit "mickey mouse" compared to the others but it satisfies the visa requirements so job done.


Nick

prikphet
21st Apr 2011, 12:07
Apparently TOIEC is accepted by the Airlines as a standard also.

Gary & Nok
21st Apr 2011, 12:57
TOIEC is accepted by the AirlinesJust for my education, why would the Airlines need to "accept" it?

ddwjg
21st Apr 2011, 14:17
Gary. It stands for Test Of English for International Communications. I think that might be useful for airlines.;)

Dave.

colin244
21st Apr 2011, 21:19
:lol: sorry could not resist

colin 244

Gary & Nok
23rd Apr 2011, 10:01
Thanks Dave, had no idea what it meant.

pzh41
26th Apr 2011, 10:57
Hmmm, as mentioned by Siam Andy on this thread (http://www.thailand-uk.com/forums/showthread.php?10707-TOEIC-v-A1-test-Can-someone-help-us-please)


...the TOEIC Speaking test includes writing. And you have to take a separate TOEIC exam to get the listening.

So, is the BULATS test the way to go ?

colin244
26th Apr 2011, 20:41
[/URL]



So, is the BULATS test the way to go ?

That's our plan!

colin 244

pzh41
18th May 2011, 11:17
I emailed Cambridge ESOL asking for more information on A1 testing in Thailand. Below is the very helpful reply :)



Dear Peter,

Thank you for your enquiry.

The following Cambridge ESOL awards are recognised by the UK Border Agency for the language requirement for spouses:

Key English Test (KET)
Preliminary English Test (PET)
First Certificate in English (FCE)
Certificate in Advanced English (CAE)
Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE)
Business English Certificate (BEC) - all levels.
International Legal English Certificate (ILEC)
International Certificate in Financial English (ICFE)
ESOL Skills for Life (all levels - available in the UK only)
International English Language Testing System (band score 4 or above)

You can find further information regarding all of our awards on the following page:

http://www.cambridgeesol.org/exams/index.html (http://www.cambridgeesol.org/exams/index.html)

Of these awards, KET is the mapped lowest on the Common European Framework, so might be considered the easiest. You can find a table showing how all of our exams are aligned to the Common European Framework (A1 - C2) on the link below:

http://www.cambridgeesol.org/exams/exams-info/cefr.html (http://www.cambridgeesol.org/exams/exams-info/cefr.html)

If you need to enter for one of these awards, you will need to contact an approved examination centre. You can search for centres near you on the following page:

http://cambridgeesol-centres.org/centres/index.do (http://cambridgeesol-centres.org/centres/index.do)

To search for an IELTS centre, please visit http://www.ielts.org (http://www.ielts.org/)

You will need to contact your chosen centre directly regarding fees and registration dates, as these vary from centre to centre. Please note that only Open centres will accept candidates who have not undertaken a course at their institution. Please also note that the Cambridge ESOL exams are not available to be taken online, and if there is no centre in your immediate area it will be necessary to travel in order to take the exam.

In answer to your specific questions:

Q: I believe she will only need A1 in listening / Speaking initialy for the Entry Visa ?
A: I believe that this is the case, but you would need to double-check this with the UKBA as they set the requirements, rather than Cambridge ESOL. As far as taking the exam is concerned, it is not possible to take only a single component; all components of the exam must be taken in order for results to be issued.

Q: How long is the certificate valid for once passed ?
A: Cambridge ESOL certificates are valid for life once obtained. The only exceptions to this are IELTS, for which results are valid for two years only, and BULATS for which we recommend if the results is older than two years a new test should be taken.

I hope this is of assistance.

Kind regards

ESOL Helpdesk
Cambridge ESOL

toddmeister
18th May 2011, 11:37
My wife did the BULATS two weeks ago. She was worried about the computer test because her reading isn't the best but came out smiling and said it was ok because we had practiced some sample tests the night before http://www.bulats.org/Bulats/Sample-tests.html she got an A1 pass for that part.
As for the speaking test, she started off well. They asked her where she was from, about her job, why she likes her boss, things like that which I believe is enough for the A1. After that the guy told her to pick an option to talk about from a selection of three choices....but she had to read the options. My wife asked the examiner to read the options to her (this is the speaking test segment afterall) but he wouldn't. After that she just had to say sorry but I can't read the options. She was really upset after and thought she had messed up but when we got her results she actually got a B1 for the speaking test so she must have answered really well on the first few questions.

Cheers
Steve

smitch
22nd May 2011, 02:45
hi my wife has just completed the a1 bulats test in bangkok, now i've got her results (which she passed) but when i looked again at the list of approved english test required for a spouse visa it states that "
BULATS Online (certificated version. Only tests taken in the UK are acceptable)
so to me it seems that tests taken online in the uk are only accepted??? has any one who has already done an A1 bulats test in thailand and handed the test certificate in with the visa application been refused or accepted? please let me know as i feel i have waisted my money and worried if i hand over her visa application with this certificate she may be refused, we will be applying for visa next month.....

ddwjg
22nd May 2011, 05:29
smitch. Did your wife do the test online, i.e from home, or did she attend a test centre in Bangkok?

Dave.

smitch
22nd May 2011, 10:47
hi Dave
she attended a test centre in bangkok on Rama 9, the certificate says "organisation: vantage siam co. Ltd" but she told me one of the test was done on the computer and when i looked on the web at the university of cambridge web site (the people who issued the certificate) it states the bulats test is an online test? so im very confussed as whether we can use this or not? any help or advise would be greatly received

toddmeister
22nd May 2011, 10:57
"BULATS Online (certificated version. Only tests taken in the UK are acceptable)
so to me it seems that tests taken online in the uk are only accepted???"

This confused me too. But that statement is also on the old list of test providers and the VFS website lists the BULATS and Vantage as the test centre. Why would VFS list a test centre within Thailand if its not accepted if taken outside of the UK? Also how is it possible for a person wishing to come to the UK on a settlement visa and therefore are outside the UK take the test within the UK? I know one member used the BULATS and had no problems getting the settlement visa. Would be good to hear others experience too

Cheers
Steve

the_link
22nd May 2011, 11:30
I would check the VFS/Embassy/UK Border Agency websites, smitch.

I can so nothing about online (http://www.ukvisas.gov.uk/resources/en/docs/2885878/guidepartnersenglishlangrequirement) testing in the UK Border Agency General Information.

Though, please refer to the above websites and this should be clearer.

smitch
22nd May 2011, 12:51
Steve thanks that gives me hope i can use this,
"I know one member used the BULATS and had no problems getting the settlement visa."
do you know how long ago this member applied using the Bulats certificate? i have emailed vfs with an attachment of the cert so hopefully they will give me a yes or no answer which i will post on here as soon as they reply.

pzh41
22nd May 2011, 13:38
I think it is the way it is worded. ?

Since the tests have been done at a test centre, then this would not be classed as online (even though done on a computer)

If the tests had been done away from the actual test centre (e.g. at home, internet cafe, etc.) then there is no way to verify that it was the candidate that sat the test or had any assistance in obtainig a pass mark. ?

ddwjg
23rd May 2011, 02:44
I think it is the way it is worded. ?

Since the tests have been done at a test centre, then this would not be classed as online (even though done on a computer)

If the tests had been done away from the actual test centre (e.g. at home, internet cafe, etc.) then there is no way to verify that it was the candidate that sat the test or had any assistance in obtainig a pass mark. ?

Smitch. This is exactly what I was leading to with my last question. Spot on pzh41.

Dave

smitch
23rd May 2011, 16:45
got an answer from vfs today which was helpfull, when i opened there following link the company who she done the test with was top of the list :)!
"Thank you for contacting the UK Border Agency Visa Information Service in Bangkok.


We are unable to advise on the applicant individual circumstances. The onus is on the applicants to provide the document to satisfy the Entry Clearance Officer that they meet all the criteria of the category under which they are applying. You may check a full list of UK Border Agency approved English language test providers, on the following website http://www.vfs-uk-th.com/images/A1_Testing.pdf (http://www.vfs-uk-th.com/images/A1_Testing.pdf) ."
so i will go ahead and use the BULATS certificate, im trying to get my (her) visa documents ready for handing in by mid June so i will post back then to let u all know how we done, thanks to all who posted useful information regarding this issue, and thanks to thailand-uk forums for the help and information i have found on here to help me get the visa together.