Stricter English Language Requirements for Family Route Migrants in the UK
Following the announcement by the former Prime Minister, David Cameron, on 18th January 2016 that family route migrants will face a new stricter English language tests when they apply to extend their stay in the UK, the Home Office is due to implement this change from October 2016, when it will increase the English language requirement for non-EEA national partners and parents from A1 CEFR to A2 CEFR.
This will only concern migrants on a 5-year partner or parent route to settlement, applying for an extension of their leave after the expiry of the initial 2.5 years period in the UK. Primarily this change will affect migrants on a Spouse/Civil partner visa or leave to remain, who will now be applying for extension of their initial 2.5 year period of grant.
To qualify for ILR, applicants must meet specific requirements, which can include a minimum continuous residence period, proof of lawful stay, adherence to immigration rules, and evidence of meeting the English language and knowledge of life in the UK requirements. Once granted ILR, individuals gain several benefits, such as access to public funds, healthcare services, and the ability to apply for British citizenship.
Changes to English Language Requirements for Settlement in the UK: Awaiting Implementation Date
Under the current Rules, English language requirement for the initial applications (whether applying for entry clearance or leave to remain) is the same as for the extension applications, where level of English proficiency at or above level A1 CEFR is required. The applicants who satisfied the requirement during their initial application are deemed to satisfy the English language requirement for the extension, even if their English language certificate has expired.
Nonetheless, when applying for a settlement in the UK under this route, the current English language requirement is level B1 CEFR. Surprisingly, since Home Office’s announcement on 21 January 2016, no specific date has been fixed for the actual implementation of the new requirement.. We are still however expecting the changes to take effect in October this year. As usual, lawyers at Edmans & Co will keep a close eye on the developments.
A spouse visa is a type of visa that allows an individual to join their spouse or partner who is a British citizen or settled person in the UK. It is designed to facilitate the reunion of married or civil partnership couples who wish to live together in the UK. The spouse visa falls under the Family route of the UK immigration system and requires meeting specific requirements and providing supporting documentation. Successful applicants are granted permission to live and work in the UK for a specified period, usually initially granted for 30 months. After this initial period, the visa can be extended, leading to settlement in the UK. The spouse visa also offers access to public services and benefits, such as healthcare and education.