The British High Commission has announced that compulsory English-language tests will be introduced from Monday for non-European migrants applying to join or marry their settled partner in the UK.
The high commission said the change will affect migrants who wish to join or marry their settled partner only. Rules for other kinds of visa, including tourist and business categories, remain unchanged.
The change affects applicants from all non-European Union countries and is not a specific measure for Pakistan, it said.
The statement said from November 29, any migrant who wants to enter or remain in the UK as the partner of a British citizen or a person settled here will need to show that they can speak and understand English by taking a test with one of the approved test providers. Applicants will need to meet this requirement if they are nationals of a country outside the European Economic Area and Switzerland, are in a relationship with a British citizen or a person settled here, and want to apply to enter or remain in the UK as their husband, wife, civil partner, fiancé(e), proposed civil partner, unmarried partner or same-sex partner.
Anyone wishing to come to the UK as a partner will need to demonstrate a grasp of basic English at A1 level. The same level required for skilled workers admitted under Tier 2 of the points-based system.
Under the current rules, people applying for visas as partners must already meet a range of criteria before being allowed to enter the UK.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 28th, 2010.