UK: English language test proposed for spousal visa applicants

Spousal visa holders would be required to prove English language knowledge at a higher threshold when they apply for visa renewal after two and a half years, if a proposed policy change is approved by Parliament.  If approved, the changes would likely take effect October 2016.  The policy detail has not yet been published and would need to be presented to Parliament before taking effect.

The policy would supplement existing requirements to demonstrate English language knowledge before entering as a spouse or qualifying for settlement.

Current Requirement

Currently, spousal visa holders must:

  • Prove their knowledge of the English language in their initial visa application; and
  • Take a more advanced English language test when they apply for permanent residence after five years in the United Kingdom. 

Under the new policy, spousal visa holders will need to additionally demonstrate intermediate level English language competence after two and half years in the United Kingdom or may be required to leave.

What This Means for Foreign Nationals

If the policy is approved, spouses of foreign nationals would be required to prove that they meet the English language requirements when they seek visa renewal.

Stuart Beaty

Celsium, Birmingham, UK