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Work permits: English language

Before we issue a work permit, your employee must be able to show that they can read, write, speak and understand English. In some cases, certain people may be exempt from this requirement.

People exempt from the language requirement 

Some people are exempt from the English language requirement if they are: 

  • work permits issued to intra-company transferees
  • temporary agriculture, construction, hospitality and fishing industry workers
  • short term work permit holders of up to 12 months. If the permit is extended past 12 months, the person must meet the language requirement

Meeting the language requirement

To meet the English language requirement your employee must meet 1 of the following:

  • have passed an English language test as described below
  • be a national of 1 of the countries listed below
  • have a degree from 1 of the countries listed below
  • have a recognised academic qualification as detailed below

English language test

If your prospective employee has passed a Secure English Language Test (SELT) that incorporates reading, writing, listening and speaking components then evidence of this must be provided. 

The SELT must be approved by the Home Office and passed to a minimum level of B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) or for sports persons and coaches a minimum level of A1.

Check the UK Visas and immigration website for a list of approved English language test providers. Highlands College in Jersey and the Guernsey College of further education offer approved language tests in the Channel Islands.

Highlands College website

Guernsey College of further education website

Approved English tests on GOV.UK

Nationals of certain countries 

Your employee meet the English language requirement if they are a national of:

  • 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
  • USA

Degrees from majority English speaking countries 

If your employee have a degree from 1 of the following countries, they will meet the English language by providing:

  • their degree certificate
  • an Academic Qualification Level Statement (AQUALS) from ECCTIS (UK ENIC) confirming the qualification is equivalent to a Bachelors or Master's degree or PhD in the UK

Countries included (Canada is not on this list):

  • 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 
  • USA

Other academic qualifications

If your employee has a degree that was taught or researched in English in a non-majority English speaking country, they will meet the English language requirement by providing the following:

  • their degree certificate
  • an Academic Qualification Level Statement (AQUALS) from ECCTIS (UK ENIC) confirming the qualification is equivalent to a Bachelors or Master's degree or PhD in the UK
  • an English Language Proficiency Statement (ELPS) from ECCTIS (UK ENIC), which will confirm that the degree was taught in English

When applying for ECCTIS (UK ENIC) statements follow the "red route" to "visas and nationality".

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