Language test for immigrants from November

To  help migrants participate in UK life.

27th July 2010:
If you wish to join your spouse in the UK, you will be tested for your English speaking skills from November this year.


You will be required to clear language tests, if you are a skilled worker or in case applying for permanent residency in UK.

The initiative was announced in early June and is scheduled to come into effect from November 29. This will mean passing a test to show the person’s ability to speak English.

Immigration minister Damian Green told MPs that non-European migrants joining a British citizen or non-European national in the UK would have to demonstrate a basic command of English, as part of the visa application process.

In a communiqué to parliament, he said an ability to speak the language would help migrant spouses or partners, participate in British life. The rules will apply to applicants from within the UK as well as visa applicants overseas.

Couples already have to meet other criteria, like proving their marriage is genuine and demonstrating they can support themselves financially.

You will need to meet the requirement if: You are a national of a country outside the European Economic Area and Switzerland; you are in a relationship with a British citizen or a person settled here; and you want to apply to enter or remain in the UK as that person’s husband, wife, civil partner, fiance (e), proposed civil partner, unmarried partner or same-sex partner.

With this, it is now clear that the requirement to take the English language test is not just for new entrants, or immigrants hoping to marry Brits.

The new requirement was announced on 9 June 2010. Foreigners in UK reported it on June 8 (

If you are not a national of a majority English-speaking country, you will need to pass an acceptable English language test with one of the UK Border Agency’s approved test providers.

In the test, you will need to demonstrate a basic command of English, speaking and listening, at level A1 of the Common European Framework of Reference. This is a basic level, which is judged to require 40 to 50 hours’ tuition for most learners. Someone assessed at level A1 can understand and use simple, everyday expressions and very basic phrases.

Even though the government had made clear its intentions of making English Language test mandatory for immigrant spouses applying for UK Visas, welfare and other organisations standing for the rights of immigrants had criticized the new rule to be introduced in November.

Openly criticizing the move, Hina Majid of the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants had asserted that supported the action of helping immigrants learn English, but she termed the new plan as discriminatory. Majid had termed the decision as unnecessary, costly and it would further tear migrant families apart.

UKBA working `closely’ with registrars, clergy to identify suspect marriages

Migrants in UK may not need `certificate of approval’ for marriage registration