UK: Spouse Language Requirements

David Cameron has announced changes to the UK Immigration Rules, which are to be introduced in October 2016. The announced changes will require spouse visa holders to demonstrate an improvement in the level of English they speak after two and a half years in the UK, or face potential deportation.

Currently, the Rules require a basic level of English at initial application stage and no new evidence of English skills at extension stage after the initial two and a half year grant of leave. After five years in the UK, every spouse visa applicant must pass the life in the UK test and an English test in order to be granted settlement.   With the introduction of the new rules, a further test at the extension stage will be required to show progress. 

The Prime Minister has expressed that the measure is aimed at encouraging integration and preventing vulnerable Muslim women from being confined to their homes by their husbands after they arrive in the UK. Mr. Cameron has said; “We are one of the most successful multi-ethnic, multi-faith democracies in the world. Where there is segregation that is holding people back, it is not in tune with British values and it needs to go”.   

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