English language tests for partners introduced


From the 29th November 2010 any non-European migrant who wants to enter or remain in the UK as the partner of a British citizen or a person settled in the UK will need to show that they can speak and understand English, by taking an approved English language test.

The new rules will apply to anyone applying as the husband, wife, civil partner, unmarried partner, same-sex partner, fiance(e) or prospective civil partner of a UK citizen or a person settled in this country.

These tests will be compulsory for people applying from within the UK as well as visa applicants from overseas.  Migrant spouses and partners will have to demonstrate English language ability at A1 level of the Common European Framework of Reference (speaking and listening).

Applicants will be required to provide evidence with their application that they have passed an acceptable English test with one of the UK Border Agency’s approved test providers.

Ed Mackie, UK Border Agency Regional Manager, East Asia said, “This new requirement was announced in June this year and as we get close to the implementation date we’d like to remind those planning on applying for a marriage visa to the UK that from November 29th they will be required to pass a compulsory English Language Test.

“Speaking English promotes integration into British society and broadens opportunities. The new rules will help ensure that migrant spouses are able to participate in British life from the outset and integrate more easily into wider UK society.”

Further guidance for applicants is available on the UK Border Agency website, along with a full list of approved English language test providers. Details of approved English language test providers testing at ‘A1 level’ in Thailand can be found at www.vfs-uk-th.com