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UK Parliamentarians seek 'English test' for visa applicants

world Updated: Nov 15, 2009 12:27 IST

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As Britan moves to tighten rules for immigrants, top parliamentarians have sought a compulsory "English test" for those applying for UK visas, a move that could impact thousands of Indians seeking to move to the country.

The British lawmakers have warned that stringent new checks were necessary to curb abuses of the system and bring immigration "firmly and fairly under control".

Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling and the Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesman Chris Huhne asked the three main parties to adopt a "common approach" to immigration as Prime Minister Gordon Brown vowed to curb immigration to the UK.

Former Labour Social Security Minister Frank Field and former Conservative Party Defence Minister Nicholas Soames also underlined the need for new restrictions on spouses coming into the country, the Daily Mail said yesterday.

They were quoted as saying by the British tabloid that immigrants should demonstrate their ability to speak English so they can "participate satisfactorily in our society, be able to find work, and know their rights and responsibilities."

In an open letter to Home Secretary Alan Johnson, Grayling and Huhne said "it is necessary to deal with a number of abuses of the present system if immigration is to be brought more firmly and fairly under control."

Those seeking entry to the UK currently have to complete such a test before they are granted British citizenship, but the parliamentarians want the 'English language test' to be made part of the process to be extended to visa applicants.