There is a requirement, recently introduced, that those applying for Entry Clearance to come to the UK need to have passed an English Language Test in their own country. This is a special test designed for this purpose by the British Embassy/UK Border Agency. Unless an applicant has a certificate to confirm that they have passed the test they would not qualify to apply for a visa to come to the UK.
Moreover, the college at which the test is taken must be recognised and included on the list maintained by the British Embassy. Needless to say, no publicity or guidance is given to potential applicants with regard to the institutions that are on the British Embassy list and, very often, the certificates produced by the applicants are rejected on the grounds that they were not from a college which is on the list. Many applicants are tricked or misled by certain colleges that they are on the British Embassy’s list and persuaded into enrolling with them.
This rule also applies to spouses (and children) who want to join their husbands/wives who are settled in the UK. In many countries, English is not the first language or widely taught, and many spouses are illiterate and do not speak or write good English. In consequence, they are unable to pass the English Language test and obtain a visa to join the spouse who is settled in the UK. This appears to be a very ill thought-through and unfair system. As a result, there is no chance for the families to live together in the UK.
We do hope that in a country that boasts of being multicultural, multilingual and multiracial, the authorities rethink and allow families to be reunited in the UK by changing the rule, at least for family applications. Lack of good knowledge in English by one spouse should not prevent the family living together as a unit in the UK.
C Selvarajah, Selvarajah & Co, London NW9