Migrants who want to wed a Briton must pass English test
ENGLISH language tests are to become compulsory for immigrants wanting to join their husband or wife in Britain, it was announced yesterday.
Migrants from outside the EU who are married or engaged to a Briton must prove they have ‘conversational’ English before they can settle in the country.
The test will become part of the marriage visa application process later this year.
Last year, 38,000 immigrants were granted spousal visas lasting two years. Another 21,000 were given the right to stay indefinitely.
Ministers hope the change will help combat bogus marriages and ensure new arrivals integrate into society.
Home Secretary Theresa May said: ‘This is only the first step. We are currently reviewing English language requirements across the visa system with a view to tightening the rules further in the future.’
To pass the test, applicants will have to be able to speak, read, and write English as well as a seven-year-old at primary school.
And they will also have to prove they can support themselves financially and that their relationship is genuine. If they comply with all the requirements, they will be issued with a two-year visa.
Sir Andrew Green, chairman of think tank Migration Watch UK, said: ‘This is an essential step forward if new spouses and partners are to play their full part in our society, but the level of English specified is at the very bottom of the scale.
‘It will have to be moved up before long if this measure is to be effective.’