The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) has now been granted approval for use in the UK’s new points-based immigration system.
From the end of February 2008, the UK Home Office (the ministry responsible for immigration and other internal affairs) is implementing a new points-based immigration system for all non-EU nationals. The new system groups potential immigrants into five "tiers". The recent approval of IELTS is for tier 1 - highly skilled migrants such as doctors, scientists or entrepreneurs, which will replace the existing Highly Skilled Migrant Programme.
As part of the application process, applicants are required to provide evidence of their English language abilities. The government has now approved IELTS at a band score 6.5 and above as suitable to verify that ability. At tier 1, applicants need to demonstrate English language skills equivalent to level C1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).