New, improved English language requirements for immigration applications

The creatively named ‘Appendix English Language’ (in its second iteration) will take effect at 9am on 1 December 2020; any application made before this highly specific date will be treated under the old rules. Unlike Appendix English Language the First, which only applied to the Appendix Student route, the new Appendix will apply to all applications made under the following routes:

The existing rules continue to apply to anyone applying under a different route so if you are not applying in one of the above categories, or you are applying before 1 December 2020, you may disregard Appendix English Language the Second in much the same way that evolution has disregarded the human appendix. For everyone else, here is a brief overview of the new rules.


Applicants are exempt from the English requirement if at the date of application they are aged 65 or over, under 18 or they have a physical or mental disability which prevents them from meeting this requirement. Presumably, anyone seeking to rely on the latter provision will be expected to provide strong medical evidence.

Majority English country

As usual, applicants can meet the English language requirement by being a national of a designated English-language country. The usual list applies, only now with the new addition of Malta. The additional of Malta to the list will apply across all categories in the Immigration Rules, not just the categories listed above.

This is not particularly generous, of course: Maltese nationals are losing their free movement rights, under which there was also no English language requirement. Nor any other requirement for that matter, unlike the new rules they will have to meet in future.

Academic qualification

As before, applicants can meet this requirement by having a degree from::

  • a UK university;
  • a university in a designated English-majority country (except Canada) with evidence of equivalence from NARIC; or
  • a university in any other country that was taught in English with evidence of equivalence from NARIC as well as evidence that the degree was taught in English from NARIC.

Medical professional regulation for Skilled Workers

An applicant in this route will meet the English language requirement if they are being sponsored to work as a dentist, doctor, nurse or midwife and they have been assessed by the relevant regulator as meeting the English language requirement for registration.

The only changes are that Malta will now be on the list of designated English-majority countries, and that the ‘degree from a designated English-majority country’ category will now include degrees from Ireland, meaning that Ireland will be treated as an honorary English-majority country for these purposes, despite not being added to the list. As above, these changes are pervasive across all immigration categories, not just the ones to which this Appendix applies.

Posted on Oct 22, 2020.

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