New Immigration Rules 英国移民新政提高英语门槛
By Nkem Ifejika, London
At present, the rules for spouses and partners of British citizens applying for a visa only require them to show that their marriage is real, and that they won't rely on the State for financial support. The British government says the requirement to speak English will help promote integration, remove cultural barriers, and protect public services. The Immigration Minister, Damian Green, says there are problems when immigrants can't communicate in English:
"You get large communities of people, many of whom - usually women - can't speak English properly and who therefore become isolated from the community around them and that's bad for them and it's bad for the wider community."
But critics of the plans say it restricts people's choices in who they marry. Don Flynn, of the Migrants' Rights Network, says people shouldn't be penalised for those choices:
"This is simply not an argument about whether or not people ... their lives will be better off if they learn English. They will be. The issue here is that the right to marry and found a family is a basic human right and is it proper, is it right, that that right to marry should be made conditional on passing a test in English? Our view is that it shouldn't be."
Officials estimate that the new language test will lead to ten percent fewer applications overall and is most likely to affect Britain's Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities. The spousal visa allows someone to stay for two years, after which they can apply for indefinite leave to remain. Applicants must then pass a further test on life and language in the United Kingdom.