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- Assessments are held online, and candidates invited via email
- There is one test attempt per candidate, per application.
- The pass mark for Level 1 exams is 60%, Level 2 and 3 exams is 65%
- All assessments are ‘open book’ (within specified parameters, shown below)
- Applicants applying at Level 2 or 3 in the category of ‘Immigration’ must first pass the Level 1 assessment
1. Before the assessment
Applicant advisers will be invited to sit the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner’s (OISC) competence assessment once they have completed a Disclosure and Barring Service check and submitted a new adviser competence statement that meets the necessary experience and training requirements.
1.1 Onboarding and Invitation
The OISC will write to each applicant by email, inviting them to take their online assessment. Please note that candidates are not permitted to ‘choose’ their preferred assessment date and time as assessments are scheduled in advance and applicants must attend the next available exam following their application for registration.
Ahead of any online assessment, all candidates must register and onboard to the test event by verifying their identification using the online photographic method that will be explained to them in their onboarding invitation email. All eligible candidates will be contacted to onboard for their exam around two weeks before their scheduled assessment.
When onboarding has been successfully completed, exam candidates will be invited to sit their test, again via email within 72 hours of the date, and full instructions provided on how to access the assessment itself.
If you are unable to take the assessment on the allocated day or need to postpone, you must notify your OISC caseworker, however it is important to note that assessments are only deferred in exceptional circumstances. Please note that you will be asked to provide documentary evidence for a postponement to be granted and this must be agreed by your caseworker. If your reason for postponement is not considered exceptional, you will be expected to take the assessment and failure to do so will result in a failure for non-attendance and could lead to the refusal of your application for registration.
The Level 1 assessment has 2 sections. Section 1 consists of 20 multiple choice questions and Section 2 consists of scenario-based questions requiring written answers. If an applicant passes both sections, they will pass the assessment overall.
The pass mark for the Level 1 OISC assessment is 60% and candidates have one attempt per application in which to pass their assessment. If a candidate fails their Level 1 test, their application for registration will be refused on competence so all applicants are urged to prepare for their assessments as fully as possible.
Applicants applying to work at Level 2 or 3 in the category of ‘Immigration’ must initially pass the Level 1 assessment before being put forward for their Level 2 or 3 exam. There is no Level 1 assessment in the category of ‘Asylum and Protection’.
Level 2 and 3 applicants who apply in the categories of both Asylum and Protection and Immigration should be aware that they will be tested in either category on the day of their assessment. Applicants will not be informed of the category in which they will be tested before their assessment and therefore should prepare accordingly. Applicants that have any special requirements for the assessment must make the OISC aware of their needs in good time so that we can make any necessary special arrangements.
The pass mark for Level 2 and 3 assessments is 65%.
The OISC provides tips on sitting the competence assessments.
1.4 Sample papers
The OISC also provides sample papers and other resources that will assist you when preparing for your assessment.
2. Preparing to sit the online exam and on the day
Once an applicant has confirmed that they can undertake the assessment on the date allocated they will receive invitation e-mails instructing them how to prepare their computer or laptop to allow them to take the online assessment.
The instructions will explain: * How to download the necessary software onto their machine and how to test that it is running correctly. * How to complete an ‘onboarding process’ that will set candidates up to take the assessment on the day.
The onboarding process includes validating ID, provides details of the exam rules and provides an example assessment so candidates can become familiar with the system. Onboarding must be completed within the timeframe specified before the exam event. This allows the OISC to deal with any issues candidates experience well in advance of the exam day.
- How to log into the exam on the day including providing their unique exam log in detail
- What to do if they experience problems setting the system up or have problems on the exam day. It is worth noting that a short drop out of internet connectivity will not disrupt the exam.
In advance of the assessment day the OISC will check that all applicants have completed the onboarding exercise and are ready to be given access to the test.
The assessment will begin at a set time and is a timed assessment.
Assessment durations are as follows: Level 1 Immigration paper – 2 hours and 30 minutes to complete two sections; There is no break between the two sections of the exam paper and candidates should allocate half the time per section.
All Level 2 papers - 2 hours 15 minutes to complete scenario-based questions.
All Level 3 papers - 3 hours to complete scenario-based questions.
Applicants taking the test are invigilated through proctoring software which records them taking the assessment through the webcam of their computer or laptop. Instructions on what actions candidates can take during the exam will be sent to applicants with the invitation instructions, but normal exam conditions apply.
The assessment is an ‘open book’ assessment and applicants may use any hard copy books or paper they wish to during the test. They should have these to hand as they should not leave the scope of the camera during the test. Applicants cannot use the internet or online resources during the exam apart from the relevant OISC Exam Resource book which is exempt from any violations and available to use in digital format in the exam environment.
2.1 Acceptable Photographic I.D.
In order to undertake the assessment, we require each applicant to produce photographic proof of identity in the form of either a current passport or driving licence. The document must be an original and the applicant will not be able to complete the onboarding process without this proof of identity.
If you do not have either of these documents, then you should contact the OISC as soon as possible.
The same ID document used to complete the onboarding process in advance of the test day will need to be again shown to the camera on the exam day to verify it is the same person sitting the assessment.
Full instructions on how to validate ID will be provided to all candidates individually ahead of their assessments.
2.2 Resource document
The appropriate Exam Resource Booklet, for each assessment will be accessible within the exam environment through a link to the OISC website. This is a key resource document that you may use on the day, which has been specifically written to aid candidates in taking the assessment. If applicants wish they can print the Resource Book and refer to it as a hard copy document during the exam.
You do not have to use this document and there is no reason why a candidate may not pass the assessment if they choose not to use the document. It is important to note that the exam will be based on immigration law as it exists or existed on the date on this document. The document contains information related to all the statutory material, rules and regulations you may need. As noted above you may also use any other hard copy reference material such as immigration handbooks, periodicals and other law handbooks or references to case law, during the assessment. They must be available to you within reach of your computer or laptop.
The assessment will be marked according to the Immigration Rules, regulations and case law in place on the date on the resource book.
3. Results of the assessment, next steps and re-sits
When you complete your test, the online system will ask you to submit your paper for marking. If your time elapses your paper will be submitted automatically.
The OISC provides guidance on the marking scheme used in the assessments.
The papers will then be marked, and you will be notified of the result of your assessment by email, within 20 working days.
3.1 If you have passed the assessment
The OISC will continue to consider your application for regulation. Please remember that the competence test is just one factor that the OISC considers when deciding an application for regulation.
Passing the test does not mean that you are authorised to provide immigration advice and services and you should wait for formal authorisation from the OISC before you do so.
For those applying at Level 2 or 3, passing the assessment at Level 1 will result in you being invited to sit the higher-level assessment that you have applied for. You will be automatically booked for the next available higher level assessment date after passing Level 1.
3.2 If you have not passed the assessment
If an applicant fails their Level 1 test, then their application for regulation will be refused. You will be contacted by the OISC in due course in these circumstances. You will not be permitted to re-sit an assessment again as part of the application currently under consideration. Should you wish to, you may make a new application for registration to the OISC, but you should be aware of the timeframes set out below. A new application may require the payment of a new application fee.
The OISC will not begin a new assessment process for applicants applying at Level 1 within 4 weeks of the candidate having received an application decision. The OISC is happy to reconsider applications after this timeframe where the applicant has taken steps to improve their skills and knowledge post their assessment.
Applications simply re-submitted to re-take tests will be refused if no evidence of additional training has been submitted. Please do not submit a new application until 4 weeks after receiving an application decision and once you have completed additional training.
Level 2 and 3
If you fail a higher-level assessment paper, you may be offered approval at a lower level than that requested. You will not be permitted to re-sit an assessment again as part of the application currently under consideration.
4. Raising your level
If you make a new application to raise your level of competence after a failed attempt at the higher-level assessment, you will be expected to demonstrate that you have undertaken significant further training or gained at least 3-6 months’ additional experience.
It is unlikely that the OISC will put you forward to re-sit a higher-level assessment paper, if you have not met this requirement.
Contact the OISC
If you have any questions about the competence assessment process, please contact the OISC using the details below:
Telephone: 0207 211 1500