Monday 16 December 2019 11:10 am

Pearson bags Home Office contract to provide English language tests

Publishing and education firm Pearson today said it has won a Home Office contract to provide English language tests for people seeking to work or live in the UK.

The FTSE 100 company said it has secured a deal lasting a minimum of three years to provide Secure English Language Tests (SELTs), which are used for visa, settlement and citizenship applicants to demonstrate a certain level of ability in English.

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Pearson won a similar contract with the Australian Home Office in 2014, and the division has now become a key area of growth for the company.

The Pearson Test of English (PTE) pulled in revenue of £77m last year, up from just £14m in 2015.

The digital test is currently accepted by the Australian and New Zealand governments for all visa applications, as well as by 98 per cent of UK universities.

Despite the announcement, shares in Person dropped as much as 1.6 per cent this morning, bucking a wider upward trend for the FTSE.

“We are proud that the UK government joins the Australian and New Zealand governments in recognising this test for visa applications, alongside thousands of leading universities across the globe who already accept it for study purposes – including most UK universities,” said Rod Bristow, president of Pearson UK.

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“Alongside this, our new English language test PTE Home has also been accepted by the UK government for those who need to prove their speaking and listening skills when applying for family visas, for instance.”

Pearson will start providing the tests in early 2020 and will be one of four approved suppliers.