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Language tests for partners

From this autumn, people coming to the UK from outside the EU to join their partner or marry must demonstrate a basic command of English

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Compulsory English language tests will be introduced for migrants applying to come to the UK to join their partner, the Government announced today.
From autumn 2010, all non-Europeans will have to show that their command of English is good enough to cope with everyday life before being granted a visa.
This applies to spouses, civil partnerships, unmarried couples, same sex partners and fiances and includes those applying from within the UK, as well as from overseas.

See the related press release.

A pre-requisite for anyone who wants to settle

Theresa May said she believes that being able to speak English should be a pre-requisite for anyone who wants to settle in the UK. ‘The new requirement for spouses will help promote integration, remove cultural barriers and protect public services,’ she explained.

Spousal visa applicants already have to meet a range of criteria. All applicants must show their marriage or partnership is genuine and that they can support themselves financially.

Part of an array of new measures

Today’s announcement is one of a wide range of measures the new government is taking to ensure that immigration is properly controlled for the benefit of the UK, alongside a limit on work visas and an effective system for regulating the students who come here.

The Home Secretary described this as ‘the first step’ in ensuring that those who benefit from being in the UK contribute to society: ‘We are currently reviewing English language requirements across the visa system with a view to tightening the rules further in the future.’


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Published 9 June 2010