Mi­grants who want to wed a Briton must pass English test

Daily Mail - - sandra Parsons - By Jack Doyle Home Af­fairs Cor­re­spon­dent

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.’

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