As a New Zealand qualified lawyer, and having just been through the QLTS scheme, my personal opinion is that it is nothing more than a very expensive protectionist racket which is run by a monopoly and a very bureaucratic and inefficient government agency called the SRA (it takes them 10 weeks to process the application for admission, and its near impossible to get them to answer the phone, or help you once they do - plus the fee).
The problem is the imposition of the QLTS assessments are compulsory for "non-EU lawyers" no matter what your previous background, education or experience. The QLTS is applied too broadly. To the SRA it doesn't seem to matter that there might be a difference between Polish law, Scottish law or German law, for example, which are very different from English law, - and New Zealand law, Canadian law and Australian law, which are about as close to English law (at least as far as the common law goes), as anywhere in the world.
There were a number of people in my classes who had over 5 years or more practicing experience, a Master's or PhD in the law from credible EU or UK universities. Many of us are working in large commercial law-firms, practicing in fields of international arbitration or other international level work, for example at EU Commission. In these roles English inheritence tax law, police powers of arrest etc) are entirely irrellevant. In many cases I work on, English law is not even applicable due to choice of law of the parties and they don't go to court here but to private tribunals. When English law is applicable, it is generally the common law of contract, Many issues in this field are novel and even partners don't know the answers. What's more, I doubt if many of the, particuarly senior partners I work with (who are excellent lawyers) could pass the "legal research" requirement in the QLTS because they inevitably get someone else to do this for them.
What's more, having practised as a barrister & solicitor in all levels of Courts of New Zealand for 4 years, arguing all manner of legal disputes for 100s of clients, taught me how to be a lawyer far better than any farcial test such as the QLTS or the LPC would ever do.
I admit there needs to be some criteria to assess those who are truely incompetent but there should be some level of screening before this expensive testing process is simply lumped on "non-EU" lawyers. My position may not be the norm, but my position is very common for antipodean lawyers who have immigrated here for work. Very few of us are working in the local community law centre and we wouldn't be hired for the jobs we are in unless these thought we were competent lawyers (and better than the next 100 people who have applied for the same job). Law-firms are now forced to consider whether it is worth fronting up with >£5,000 for a process that takes about 12 months to complete before deciding whether it is worth hiring an foreign lawyer. When competing for jobs, it's not a level playing field, but I guess that was the objective of the reforms.