Skilled migrants must pass Life in the UK test for permanent residence

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Skilled and highly skilled migrants are now required to pass the Life in the UK test to satisfy the knowledge of language and life (KOL) requirement for settlement (properly known as indefinite leave to remain but frequently referred to as permanent residence) in the UK. The Life in the UK test demonstrates knowledge of UK civics and culture.

Applicants for settlement who are currently in the UK under the following visas are affected:

  • Tier 1 (Exceptional talent)
  • Tier 1 (General)
  • Tier 1 (Entrepreneur)
  • Tier 1 (Investor)
  • Tier 2 (Intra company transfer)
  • Tier 2 (General)
  • Tier 2 (Minister of religion)
  • Tier 2 (Sportsperson)
  • work permit holder
  • highly skilled migrant (excluding those covered by the HSMP ILR Judicial Review policy document)
  • representative of an overseas newspaper, news agency or broadcasting organisation
  • representative of an overseas business
  • overseas government employee
  • minister of religion, religious missionary, or member of a religious order
  • airport-based operational ground staff of overseas-owned airlines
  • person intending to establish themselves in business
  • innovator
  • person intending to establish themselves in business under the provisions of EC Association Agreements
  • investor
  • writer, composer or artist

As of 6 April 2011, people in the UK under these visa categores can no longer meet the KOL requirement by just passing an English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) test, unless they are applying for settlement under transitional arrangements.

Transitional arrangements for skilled and highly skilled migrants:

If you are in one of the above visa categories and you enrolled in an ESOL course or obtained an ESOL qualification before 23 November 2010, you fall under the transitional arrangement and you can still use your ESOL qualification to meet the KOL qualification.