This page serves to help South Africans understand the UK’s recognition of their SA qualifications.

The important thing to note is that SA has established a National Qualifications Framework (NQF) and it works differently to the UK’s Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF).

RQF Level (UK)NQF Level (SA)Qualification Level
1General Certificate
2Elementary Certificate
13Intermediate Certificate / GCSE D, E, F, G
24National Certificate (Matric) / GCSE A, B, C
35Higher National Certificate / A Levels A, B, C, D, E
57Bachelors Degree / Advanced Diploma(SA) / Higher National Diploma(UK)
68Honours Degree / Post Grade Diploma
79Masters Degree
810Doctorate Degree

For reference: Information relating to the UK’s RQF taken from here. Information relating to the SA’s NQF taken from here.

The UK’s RQF system impacts South Africans in two ways. Either with regards to their pursuit of further education (and studying abroad) or with their accreditation so that they can further their carreers in the UK.

English Test Comparison

This next table of comparison serves to compare the variations of English Tests.

What’s important to note here is that English tests serve to demonstrate a tertiary level of English ability. Therefore above national matric (seen as secondary education).

Skills For English Test CodeSkills For English Level DescriptionCEFR LevelsTOEFL iBTTOEFL CBTTOEFL PBTCambridge Assessment
IELTS ScoresChinese Standards of English (CSE)*
4SC2MasteryC2C2 Proficiency9.0
Level 9
Level 8
4SC1ExpertC1110-120270-300637-677C1 Advanced8.0
Level 8
Level 7
4SB2Upper IntermediateB287-109227-269567-636B2 First6.5
Level 6
Level 5
Lower IntermediateB157-86163-226487-566B1 Preliminary5.0
Level 5
Level 4
Level 3
2SA2ElementaryA240-56120-162433-486A2 Key3.5
Level 3
Level 2
Level 1

Reference of this comparison can be found here.

Student Visas

For South Africans looking to further their studies in the UK, here is an interesting comparison of SA qualifications and UK ones:

UK Work Permits

The UK’s RQF levels play important contributing factor in Tier 2 visa applications.

The UK government have broken down their skillset recognition based on qualifications (first) and have attributed unique codes to each skillset (referred to as Standard Occupation Classification [SOC] system).

Full list of the UK governments RQF and SOC codes can be found here:

To facilitate the visa representation, Move Up initially offers a free assessment, to assess the feasibility of the case. Thereafter we help South Africans further navigate the British governments’ visa hurdles.

Once you have secured a Tier 2 “Certificate of Sponsorship” number, please be encouraged to know that Move Up is best able to assist in your case.

Alternatively, for quicker feedback and more information:


Thanks for giving Move Up the opportunity to help.