Compulsory English language tests will be introduced for migrants applying to come to the UK to join their partner or marry, the government announced today.
From Autumn 2010 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.
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The rules will apply to spouses, civil partnerships, unmarried couples, same sex partners and fiancés, and will be compulsory for people applying from within the UK, as well as visa applicants from overseas.
Theresa May 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.
'It is 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.
'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.
'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.'
Source: Home Office