English tests for UK spousal visa breach human rights
United Kingdom, 1st October: Several human rights advocates have warned against introduction of English language tests for gaining UK spousal visa as this would be a breach of human rights and discriminatory.
The UK Home Office intends to make passing of English language test mandatory from November this year for all those wanting to move to Britain to join their spouses.
Aileen McColgan and Rabinder Singh QC of Matrix Chambers have stated that such a requirement aims to significantly bring down the number of immigrants moving to the UK and is not meant to control abuse of UK visas.
Pre-entry tests is a breach of the human rights to family life, the human rights lawyers assert, and hence, are considered discriminatory towards migrants hailing from non-English speaking nations as against those who although hail from America or other English-speaking nations but don’t have the ability to speak English.
A good example for making the discrimination meted out to migrants from a nation like India who although possess a degree in English but will have to clear the language test to prove their eligibility for UK spousal visa. On the other hand, any migrant hailing from California, for example, will not be required to pass an English language test.
Around 25,000 spouses wanting to move to the UK each year are likely to be affected by introduction of such English language tests, states Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty, a human rights group. Chakrabarti warned that such language tests, if introduced, might be challenged in high court.
If the UK government does not reconsider introduction of such an unlawful and discriminatory decision, then, Liberty will be the first to shelter genuine families facing break-up, cautioned Chakrabarti.
The decision of introducing a mandatory English language test for UK spousal visa was suggested nearly two years ago by UK Labor ministers to help new immigrants get jobs in the UK and to increase the significance of learning English language for migrants.
Majority of migrants gaining UK spousal visas each year hail from Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, America and Thailand respectively.
The introduction of pre-entry English tests might result in breakup of several families where spouses are unable to clear such a test for varied reasons including age, family commitments, lack of English courses, or illness, McColgan and Singh feel.