New UK English test may hit spouse of Asian migrants

Some migrants to Britain who cannot pass an English test within 2-1/2 years of arriving may not be allowed to stay, British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Monday in a move aimed at fostering greater integration by Muslim women.

Passing an IELTS test is already a requirement for a spouse visa. However, after entering the country, the spouses of Indian and other non-EU migrants may have to pass anther English barrier from October to test if they have actually improved their language skills. The PM David Cameron announced this on 18th January and these plans are expected to bring in lots of protest and opposition.

The Prime Minister added that ‘people coming to our country have responsibilities too’ and hence if they failed the test the second time, they may have to leave the country. All those who come to the UK as a husband or wife are expected to speak basic level of English.


Cameron specifically identified those of Pakistani and Bangladeshi origin Muslim women and said that there were 190,000 British Muslim women who spoke little or no English and Britain needed to take on the “backward attitudes” of some men whom he said exerted damaging control over their wives, sisters and daughters.

“Someone can move to here with very Basic English and there’s no requirement to improve it over time. We will change that. We will now say: if you don’t improve your fluency, that could affect your ability to stay in the UK,” Cameron wrote in an article for the Times newspaper.

“This will help make it clear to those men who stop their partners from integrating that there are consequences.”

The government will invest 20 million Pounds in English classes for women in isolated communities, and from October this year will begin testing those who have come in to Britain on a spousal visa to check if their language skills have improved.