English test before you marry a Briton | india | Hindustan Times
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English test before you marry a Briton

India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, from where over 17,000 spouses entered UK last year, may become the most ‘tested’ countries, reports Vijay Dutt.

india Updated: Dec 07, 2007 03:40 IST
Vijay Dutt

The British Home Office will introduce a English language test for those either planning to marry a resident of Britain or already married and intending to join the spouse in the country. A legislation to implement this will be initiated in early 2008.

India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, from where over 17,000 spouses entered Britain last year, may become the most ‘tested’ countries. Another 23,000 from other non-EU countries will also be affected. The tests would be taken before the prospective immigrant left for Britain.

The test of English has been justified on the ground that it will help the spouses integrate better into the “British way of life.”

Immigration Minister Liam Byrne said the deal was unambiguous. “Speak the language, obey the law and make sure you’re paying your taxes like the rest of us.”

The Home Office and ministers have for some time been expressing concern over the lack of knowledge of English of some of those arriving from the subcontinent. “They are vulnerable to exploitation, isolated and do not have access to the job market. We are underlining how important we regard the command of the English language, said Byrne, adding, “If we are serious about English, shouldn’t we give these individuals a flying start in the UK by asking them to speak English from the day they arrive?”

It has not yet been decided whether failure to pass the test would lead to refusal of entry to Britain.