On January 18th the Prime Minister announced a new English Language requirement for family route migrants wanting to remain in country.

Cameron revealed that all those who entered the UK on the five-year spousal settlement programme would have to sit two language tests halfway through that period and those who failed the tests at the two-and-a-half-year mark, may be forced to leave the UK.

Non-EEA national partners and parents on the family route will now need to pass a speaking and listening test at level A2 in order to qualify. Guidelines state that, in order to reach this level, a person must be able to ‘extract important information on short radio broadcasts, such as the weather forecast, concert announcements or sports results’ if the presenter talks clearly.

The aim of the new A2 requirement is to help migrants, who are on a family visa in the UK, to become more fluent in English over time as part of the government’s manifesto commitment. By learning the language, it will allow the individual(s) to experience a smoother transition when integrating into the community, giving them the capability to engage in everyday conversation. It is believed that this step with help to remove isolation in neighbourhoods.

In light of this change, the government recognises that those affected will need fair and sufficient time to prepare for the new tests. As a result, this means that the new requirement will only take affect as of October 2016 and therefore, will not affect those required to apply for further leave to remain before then.

Further details of this change, along with exact timings, will be confirmed by the Home Office in the near future and all announcements will be published on the UK government website.