Monthly Archives: March 2012

UKBA’s Mapping of CEFR and IELTS Called in Question in Court

An interesting appeal was recently heard involving a Tier 4 Student whose application was refused for the sole reason that they did not meet B2 of the Common European Framework for Language Learning (B2) in all four language components: reading, writing, speaking and listening.

Whilst there are various ways a Tier 4 Student can demonstrate their English language level, this appeal concerned the use of an IELTS certificate. The student achieved a score of 5.0 in two skills and 6.0 in the others. The United Kingdom Border Agency (UKBA) took the view that CEFR B2 is equivalent to IELTS 5.5. The UKBA concluded that the student did not meet this level and therefore refused the application.

The UKBA has done what it usually does, ‘hiding’ their assessment of how IELTS scores map to CEFR in a guidance document outside the Immigration Rules (sound familiar? Read on and found out why!).

It’s important to note that the UKBA is very careful in its use of language to describe their approval not accreditation of education providers when issuing Tier 4 sponsor licenses. Obviously, this is because the UKBA is not in the business of education, but rather immigration, and is therefore in no position to accredit anything in the world of education. It is therefore quite funny that they do not take this approach when deciding how IELTS scores should correspond to the CEFR.

As previously stated, the UKBA’s guidance states that CEFR B2 is equivalent to IELTS 5.5. However, a little bit of deeper research clearly shows this to be wrong. Who better to ask how the IELTS scores map to the CEFR than the exam provider themselves? A quick scan of the IELTS website provides some eye-opening details, namely that B2 is equivalent to an IELTS score range of 5.0 – 6.5. See the image below from the IELTS website mapping their scores to the CEFR:

Mapping IELTS Scores to CEFR

Also contained on the IELTS website is some text of note:

Specifying the relationship between a test product and the CEFR is challenging because, in order to function as a framework, the CEFR is deliberately underspecified (Davidson & Fulcher, 2007; Milanovic, 2009; Weir, 2005). Establishing the relationship is also not a one-off activity, but rather involves the accumulation of evidence over time (e.g. it needs to be shown that test quality and standards are maintained). (…)

As IELTS preceded the CEFR, IELTS band scores have never aligned exactly with the CEFR transition points.  The new table makes this clearer.

I therefore ask again: who better to ask what CEFR B2 is equivalent to under the IELTS framework than the exam provider and their researchers?

Armed with these facts, it was argued at the student’s appeal that the UKBA’s guidance on IELTS/CEFR B2 equivalency could not be relied upon. This is exactly what was found in the now in-famous Pankina case: UKA guidance could not be said to be an “extant and accessible outside source” [Para 26]. The outcome would surely have been different had the Immigration Rules or Guidance document had referred to an outside source, but they do not. The Guidance document simply states (incorrectly) what IELTS scores the UKBA considers to be CEFR B2.

Unsurprisingly, the judge agreed with what was presented above and the appeal was allowed.

From the perspective of international students, it’s sad that the language requirement has been implemented in such a complex, confusing and convoluted way, regardless of whether or not a pre-visa English language requirement is suitable or not. Yes there are bogus. Yes there are bogus students, but the majority are in fact hard-working students, who make good progress in their studies and are a benefit both to the UK and their home communities.

Newer, Tougher Post Study Work Criteria in Force Shortly

From 6 April 2012, tougher rules will be in force for those international students seeking to continue to remain in the UK through the post study work route (Tier 1). Announced last month by Damian Green – the UK’s Immigration Minister, the changes are cited as aiming to ensure only the brightest and best students remain in the UK following their studies.

The new post study work rules will see permission granted to remain in the UK for work purposes only given to those who have graduated from a university will be earning at least 20,000 and have secured a job offer from an employer accredited by the UK Border Agency.


The new rules have a heavy ‘benefit the British economy’ slant and aim to:

Promote Growth

1,000 places will be offered to students who will be working on world-class innovations in the UK but do not qualify for the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) route.

Boost the Economy

If students have 50,000 to invest in a business, they will be permitted to remain in the UK following their studies.

Ensure Students can Maintain Themselves

Maintenance requirements were first introduced in 2008 and are now being overhauled. Students, working migrants and dependants will have to demonstrate access to higher levels of funding than before.

Reduce Abuse

Courses combing study and work and at below degree level have now had the work portion of the course capped at one-third the total duration of the course. Further, the time spent studying at degree level has now been capped at a maximum of 5 years.

Damian Green said:

‘It is vital that we continue to attract the brightest and the best international students, but we have to be more selective about who can come here and how long they can stay.

‘In the past, too many students have come to the UK to work rather than study, and this abuse must end. With the introduction of the Graduate Entrepreneur route and the restrictions on student work, we are reforming the system to deliver immigration to benefit Britain.’

My Court Battle with UKBA and Home Office

Hi guys

I applied for my student visa extension in April last year. It was in time application. Al my documents were perfect, however HO could not take money out of my account for visa processing. I admit i did not had enough funds for couple of hours on that day. However my bank statement shows that I did had enough money to pay £386.

I called same day to HO and said that for some reason transaction has been declined and if thy want me i can send them draft straight away. I did not want them to return my application but they said they will write me. They returned my application after one month and by that time my visa was expired already. My application was considered invalid and I was asked to make a valid application (not fresh). I made valid application in June attaching statement showing £1600 maintenance funds.

In July they refused me visa saying that you did not had visa at the time of making this 2nd application , so you need to show full maintenance funds of £7200. They denied my established presence at the time of 2nd application, however I have been attending classes in May and appeared in exams in June.

I was not even given right of appeal and was asked to leave the country. However after being misguided by couple of solicitors, I hired a solicitor who took JR path for my case.For the pre-action protocol which was done by my solicitor in October, HO refused in January this year to change their decision.

Now my solicitor has sent my case to High Court and he said this is the time HO will try to negotiate or consider your case and he is very hopeful that it would be done before the hearing in the court.He always assures me that its a win win case and also gave me in writing that if he could not win he would return all the fee.

What do you guys think what are my chances? and how long it would take to make a decision? Moreover what is my status in UK until the time decision is not made? Can I work or continue to work until that time?

Please reply me as i am going through severe trauma.

Many thanks

This post was submitted by Ali.

FDM Group alerts graduates to high technology salaries to promote IT careers

According to a recent report published by the Royal Academy of Engineering, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) graduates are currently earning 4.47% more than university leavers with a first degree in other subjects.

Furthermore the study, which is based on data from the UK Labour Force survey, found that professionals working in STE occupations earn 19% more than those not working in STE roles.

FDM Group Recruitment Manager, Madeleine Field, said “It is widely recognised that the IT industry is highly lucrative and can lead graduates into high flying positions with impressive rates of pay and career prospects. These latest figures certainly emphasise this and should be used to draw graduates to the industry.”

The UK’s largest IT graduate employer, FDM Group, is dedicated to combating the IT skills shortage by promoting IT careers and is urging graduates with related degrees to take note of these latest figures.

As the REA report pointed out, “Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) are subject areas that are deemed crucial for a modern economy. Having a sufficient supply of skilled workers trained in these subjects is seen as a pressing policy priority.”

And with just 44.2% of employed graduates working within the industry six months after graduating in 2010, the ‘Best Technical Graduate Recruiter’ of 2010 firmly believes in the value of combating the IT skills shortage by attracting graduates to the industry.

Madeleine Field went on to say, “The maintenance of a steady flow of graduates into the IT industry is crucial to the success of the sector and consequently the economy as a whole. As a company that has been training and recruiting graduates for over 21 years, we understand how beneficial their contribution can be.”

The international IT services provider is renowned for its award winning graduate scheme which offers university leavers the chance to launch a career in IT through a unique combination of industry centred training and real commercial experience.

In 2011 the firm ranked in 9th position of TheJobCrowd’s 50 ‘Top Companies For Graduates to Work For.’

This post was submitted by sheira gorris.

Problems with Admission due to low pass marks

I have 42.70% (pass class) in my graduation which was completed in 2001 and after that i have work experience of 10 years in UK university regional office in INDIA. Now I am facing problem of getting admission in UK university just because of my low percentage. tell me what to do? Why My work experience is not considered? At present My designation is Managerial Level. I can Not disclose the name of University where i am working.

Which university can given me an admission?

This post was submitted by shailen.

i m also victim of fccollege

I am Sunpreet Singh. I had
applied for ABE Advanced Diploma in Business Management (NQF Level 6) in your
college. I got the offer letter on 18 DEC 2009. I had already deposited my
tuition fee as a draft of 3300 GBP of (state bank of India, D.D no- 079508) to
my consultant on 4 JAN 2010. Also I got the visa letter from FCCollage. My
course had been started on 15 march 2010. But as we know that The High
Commission applied new rule for student visa. In which they were Taking those
files only according to the date of commencement of student and after some few
days they took decision of temporary closure for diploma program for north
India and after that they didn’t open any type of student visa for north India
& I wasted my 8 months. After that I heard that they opened but that time we
don’t have arrangement for studies
& I had already wasted my 1 year of my life at that moment.

Neither my consultant nor the college helped me out for returning my fees.

i didnt get my fees till yet.. can someboby help me out from this big tension.

This post was submitted by sunpreet singh.

Need Contact Details for Lawyer in Global Vision College case

The contact number or email address of Mr.Usman Arshad,the lawyer representing Mr.Naeem Ali who lodged a complaint in Manchester Country Court. District Judge Wheeler took a dim view to the refusal to provide a refund and ordered Global Vision College to refund the full £1,000 plus £400 costs. Thanks & regards.

This post was submitted by Nisar Ahmed.

missed call from embassy philippines will result in visa refusal?

Good day! i missed to answer the call from the embassy and same day, they emailed me and told me to call them at their given number for the VISA SECTION. However, I have been calling them for 2 days already and no one is answering my call. I even tried calling via the British EMbassy Philippine number but still the Visa section is not answering. Now I am a bit worried bcause i think its essential for them to interview students applicant before they can make a decision on the application. my class will start this coming Feb.13 2012 and im running out of time already. I emailed them already but it just says that i will be catered to within 7 working days.

what i do knot understand is that they told me to call them but no one is answering my call. Is there a possibility that i will be given a refusd entry decsion because i was not able to talk to them?

please help…

This post was submitted by Reovale.

Paying Advance tuition fees


I just want to ask question regarding my college. I enrolled last October 2011 in a 2 year course. They asked me to pay the full amount of my 1st year, the they asked me to sign a contract regarding my next payment for my second year that was due last December 2011 with an interest. My concern is that, is this kind of payment system and agreement right? To think that I’ve already paid my full 1st year and just got enrolled last October (4months) but they were asking us to pay the second year already. Hope you can advise me regarding this situation. Thank you very much!

This post was submitted by Abigail .

Refunds Issue

Dear Sir/ Mam

I have small business in India and we recruit students for UK College in India and i recruit students for the College, these Students have paid fee.Visa of Some Students has been rejected and the college promised us to refund the fee within 28 days. We were chasing the College for the refunds. The College struck the fee of Students and showed Bank corrupts.

I would really appreciate if you could help me will any advice that how can we go about getting our refunds.

This post was submitted by harpinder singh.