Wednesday, June 9, 2010

UK-bound spouses must learn English

London: In the first of what’s expected to be a series of announcements to curb immigration into the United Kingdom, home minister Theresa May in the new centre-right coalition government announced here on Tuesday that Indians must now pass compulsory language tests in English if they want to marry a British citizen, and apply to migrate to the United Kingdom before they can join their partners. The examinations will be introduced this autumn.

Overall, the UK had granted settlement to 230,000 people from all countries in 12 months up to March 31 this year. According to a home office source, India was one of the largest beneficiaries. The number of Indians migrating to UK could hover around 50,000 in the last one year.
May, who belongs to the traditional wing of the Conservative party, said: “I believe being able to speak English should be a pre-requisite for anyone who wants to settle here. The new English requirement for spouses will help promote integration, remove cultural barriers and protect public services.’’
In a tough line consistent with her party’s stand, she added: “It’s a privilege to come to the UK and that is why I am committed to raising the bar for migrants and ensuring that those who benefit from being in Britain contribute to our society.’’
May also warned: “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. 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 UK, alongside a limit on work visas and an effective system for regulating the students who come here.’’
British MPs seek scrapping of new student visa rules: British MPs have asked the government to scrap the new immigration rules that make it mandatory for students from India and other non-EU countries to have an intermediate level of English before coming to the UK to study the language. The rules, put in place by the previous labour government, raised the entry level criteria for international students keen to study English in Britain. P 13 Spouse will have to provide evidence of English language test
London: As a pilot scheme, all non-European migrants will have to demonstrate a basic command of English that allows them to cope with everyday life before they are granted a visa.
Anyone wishing to come to the UK as a spouse will have to demonstrate basic English at A1 level, the same level required for skilled workers admitted under the “Skilled Tier of the Points Based System’’.
A spouse will need to provide evidence to the UK Border Agency with their visa application that they have passed an English language test with one of the UK Border Agency’s approved test providers.
Under the current rules, spousal visa applicants already have to meet a range of criteria before being allowed to enter the UK.
All applicants need to show their marriage or partnership is genuine and that they can support themselves financially.
Whether one is married in the UK or overseas, the non-UK partner will be required to seek a two-year settlement visa to come and live in the UK as a spouse.
At the end of the two years they can approach the UK Border Agency for indefinite leave to remain. Those wanting permanent stay after completing their period of temporary residence will still need to fulfil the “Knowledge of Life and Language in the UK’’ test. This would be over and above the basic English language requirement which will form part of their initial application.

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