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) Qualification LevelNQF Level (SA)Qualification Level
8Doctoral degree10Doctoral degree
7Masters degree / Postgraduate Diploma / Post Graduate Certificate9Masters Degree
6Bachelor degree / Bachelor Honours degree / Graudate Diplomas / Graduate Certificates8Bachelors Honours Degree / Postgraduate Diploma / Advanced Bachelors degree
6Bachelor degree / Bachelor Honours degree / Graudate Diplomas / Graduate Certificates7Bachelor degree / Advanced Diploma
5Foundation Degrees / Diplomas of Higher Education / Higher National Diploma6Diploma / Advanced Certificate in Education / Professional Diploma in Education
4Higher National Certificates / Certificates of Higher Education6Advanced Certificates
3Level 3 Awards / GCE AS and A Levels5Higher National Certificate
2Technical or Vocational Qualifications Level 2 / GCSE at grade A B C4National Certificate (Vocational) Level 4 (Matric) / National Senior Certificate
2Technical or Vocational Qualifications Level 2 / GCSE at grade A B C3National Certificate (Vocational) Level 3 / Intermediate Certificate
1Technical or Vocational Qualifications Level 2 / GCSE at grade D E F G2National Certificate (Vocational) Level 2 / Elementary Certificate
Entry Level Certificates (1 – 3)1National Certificate (Vocational) Level 1 / General Certificate

For reference: Information relating to the UK’s RQF taken from here. Information relating to the SA’s NQF taken from here. A combined perspective was 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).

  English Level DescriptionSELT LevelsTOEFL iBTTOEFL CBTTOEFL PBTCambridge Assessment
IELTS Scores 
 MasteryC2   C2 Proficiency9.0
 ExpertC1110-120270-300637-677C1 Advanced8.0
 Upper IntermediateB287-109227-269567-636B2 First6.5
 Lower IntermediateB157-86163-226487-566B1 Preliminary5.0
 ElementaryA240-56120-162433-486A2 Key3.5
 BeginnerA10-390-119310-434 2.5

Reference of this comparison can be found here.

UK Work Permits

The UK’s RQF levels play important contributing factor in UK Skilled Worker 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.

South Africans are in high demand for UK work permits

UK companies are employing more South Africans now than ten years ago, with close to [...]

How do South Africans find UK visa sponsors?

How South Africans can find UK visa sponsorship To help fellow South Africans in finding [...]

More Jobs than ever in the UK: What Does This Mean for South Africans?

As Britain enters the post-Brexit era and aims to recover the economy amidst the constant [...]

Recruitment Division: Now Open

Looking to tap into a new pool of skilled South African workers? Move Up can [...]

Customer Case Study: Ancestry Work Permit

Unique Visa Provisions In todays case study, we are going to be looking at how [...]

Customer Case Study: UK Skilled Worker Visa

UK Employer Sponsorship UK skilled work permits, previously known as Tier 2 visas, work on [...]

These 30+ Jobs Will Help South Africans Move to the UK

Brexit has brought some seismic shifts to the United Kingdom’s (UK) immigration policies.  One of [...]

Move Ups’ February 2015 Summary on UK Visas

Given that we are already half way through February, this year seems to be getting [...]

Individual Business
Jobs UK Visas Relocation Services English test British passports
Tests Details Free Assessment RQF vs NQF
Skilled Worker visa
requirements fees processing times
documents SA vs UK qualifications extension
free visa assessment cv writing services free english ability assessment