The plans due to come into force in November will introduce tests on thsoe arriving, including spouses. They were introduced formally to deter abuse as a non English speaking spouse would find it more difficult to get help in the UK in extremis.
Seems pretty obvious to me.
But, say our learned and funded friends,
the decision to impose the test from November has more to do with reducing the number of immigrants to Britain than minimising abuse.
The lawyers said that the introduction of pre-entry tests amounted to a breach of the right to family life under human rights laws. They also said it was likely to be discriminatory to require someone with a degree in English from India to take the test but not someone from California who speaks only Spanish.
The legal opinion was commissioned by the human rights group Liberty. Its director, Shami Chakrabarti warned that the opinion would support a high court challenge if the tests, which will affect more than 25,000 spouses a year, go ahead.
"We have warned that pre-entry English tests are discriminatory and unlawful – a view now endorsed by one of the foremost barristers in the country," Chakrabarti said. "If the government persists with this half-baked policy, it will face embarrassing litigation unworthy of a coalition built on fundamental freedoms."
The tests apply only to those who come from non-English-speaking countries. The top five countries of origin of those coming to marry UK citizens are Pakistan (8,570), India (5,110), Bangladesh (2,780), the US (2,110) and Thailand (1,776).
What is really annoying about this is that they have a point about the way that this is set up. It is arbitary and cack-handed. Of that there is no doubt. It is also transparently discriminatory. And it is designed to reduce immigration(no bad thing that).
But why are the proposals such a dog's dinner?
Because, as I have nmentioned before our entire immigration policy is driven by convoluted political expediency. Largely due to our inability to deal with EU immigration.
Thus we have the infamous Dr Ubani case where non fluent EU based Doctors can inadvertantly kill UK citizens, whereas Indian and other Commonwealth Doctor's trained in English have to go through internminable language tests.