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The English Language Test Requirement

Added: Tuesday 17th January 2012 02:09:53 PM

The English Language Test Requirement

In December 2011, the High Court made a ruling on an immigration matter that will have a big impact on people who are settled in the UK and want to bring their spouse here to live with them. The case concerns a British Citizen Mrs Chapti who lives in Leicester that wanted to bring her spouse over from India to live here. They had been married for 40 years, have 6 children though her husband cannot read or write English.

In November 2010, the Government brought in changes to the immigration rules that meant a non EU overseas spouse had to demonstrate that they had sufficient knowledge of English language before they could be allowed to live here in the UK. However the rules stated that only a minimum level had to be passed set at A1 CEFR in speaking and listening. There are some exemptions to this requirement, for example if you are from a majority English speaking country, which are listed in the Immigration rules such as USA and Canada amongst others.

Mrs Chapti claimed that the requirement of the English test placed an extra burden on her and her rights under Article 8 ECHR were interfered with, that is the right to a family life. The high court judge, sitting in Birmingham, said the requirement to have passed a pre-entry English language test did interfere with the couple's Article 8 rights to a family life but this was justified in the interests of promoting integration and protecting public services.

It was argued by the Appellant that the requirement was discriminatory in that if you were a Spanish speaker in California, you would not be required to take the test whereas a person with degree in India is required to have the test. I speak from experience, as such was the case where I appeared before the Tribunal in late December 2011 when my client had in fact taken the test and passed it subsequent to the decision to refuse her entry. However under the rules the Tribunal is not obliged to accept such post decision evidence, though my argument was that she had a degree in India and has subsequently demonstrated that she possessed the necessary skills in English by passing the test.

The Immigration authorities will only accept results from approved test providers, it has been known that such providers are not readily accessible in some counties and therefore a more sensible approach is to make the requirement mandatory on arrival in the UK where the tests could be monitored properly to ensure the government's objective is reached.

The Immigration Minister, Damian Green, said after the hearing: "We believe it is entirely reasonable that someone intending to live in the UK should understand English, so that they can integrate and participate fully in our society. We are very pleased that the courts agree with us." Surely the level set by the immigration rules (Level A1 CEFR) is so low that this objective cannot be reached and the only objective is to limit the number of migration entries to the UK which is the overriding policy of the Coalition Government. I understand that this case will be appealed further and perhaps the appeal Courts may be a little more sympathetic.

If you have been affected by such circumstances and would wish to discuss the matter with me, then please feel free to call me 0116 2664680 or visit www.justlegalgroup.co.uk

Written by Minesh Ruparelia of Just Legal Group & Uploaded by VZONE Multimedia