Staff Visas

English language requirements

If you are applying for a Skilled Worker visa, then you must meet the English language requirements.

You can meet the English language requirement in ONE of the ways below.  These are the only ways in which you can meet the English language requirement. No alternative evidence will be accepted.

Option 1: National of a majority English speaking country

You will meet the requirement if you are a national of one of the following countries:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • The Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Canada
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Jamaica
  • Malta
  • New Zealand
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • United States of America (USA)

As evidence, you must provide a valid passport, national ID card or travel document of that nationality.

Option 2: Academic Qualification (awarded a degree taught or researched in English)

You can use your degree to meet the English language requirement if:    

  1. It was taught in English
  2. It is UK Bachelor’s degree level or above, including Postgraduate degrees (or an equivalent level as recognised by Ecctis (previously known as UK NARIC))

The documentation you need to provide depends on where your degree is from:

Country in which degree was awarded Evidence required
UK 
  • Degree certificate, official transcript or letter from awarding institution containing equivalent information
Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Ireland, Jamaica, Malta, New Zealand, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and The Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, United States of America (USA)
  • Degree certificate, official transcript or letter from awarding institution containing equivalent information
  • Statement of comparability from Ecctis/UK NARIC confirming that degree is equivalent to at least UK bachelor’s degree level - known as 'Visas and Nationality (PhD verification) or Statement of Comparability

You can apply for this here

A  country not listed above
  • Degree certificate, official transcript or letter from awarding institution containing equivalent information
  • Statement of comparability from Ecctis (previously UK NARIC) confirming that degree is equivalent to at least UK bachelor’s degree level AND it was taught/researched in English – known as ‘Visas and Nationality (PhD verification with English proficiency)’ 

You can apply for this here

Option 3: Passed an approved English language test at the appropriate level

You must sit and pass an approved English language test with at least CEFR level B1 in reading, writing, speaking and listening. Approved tests are currently provided by IELTS, Pearson, Trinity College London and LanguageCert.

These test providers are updated regularly, so please check the Home Office website to ensure you are sitting an approved test:

Gov.uk - View approved tests

These tests are only valid for a certain amount of time. If you are unsure of what test to sit, please contact staffvisahelp@ed.ac.uk

Option 4: GCSE or A-Level English

You meet the requirement if you have a GCSE, A level, Scottish National Qualification at level 4 or 5 or, Scottish Higher or Advanced Higher, in English (language or literature), that was awarded:

1. by an Ofqual (or SQA, Qualifications Wales or CCEA) regulated awarding body; and

2. following education undertaken in a UK based school which began while you were aged under 18.

You cannot rely on GCSE or A levels gained through adult education or correspondence courses.

Further resources

To further help you with your application, there are several resources available from the UK Government website.

UKVI website:

UKVI website

Skilled Worker Guidance:

Appendix Skilled Worker -Caseworker Guidance 

Relevant immigration rules:

Appendix Skilled Worker in the Immigration Rules

English language tests approved by the UK government:

List of the approved English language tests