New English language requirements for renewing family visas

New English language requirements have been announced for family-route migrants applying to extend their stay in the UK. The new rules will come into effect in October 2016.

Under the new rules non-EEA partners and parents in the UK under the family visa rules must pass an approved English language speaking and listening test in order to secure further leave to remain on the five-year partner or parent route to settlement. In order to qualify for further leave to remain in the UK you must now achieve level A2 on the European Common Framework of Reference (ECFR).

Since November 2010, non-EEA national partners of British citizens or persons settled in the UK applying for a visa or initial leave to remain under the family route have been required to demonstrate that they can speak and understand basic English. This requirement was extended in July 2012 to parents of British citizens and persons settled in the UK. Since October 2013, adult migrants applying for settlement (indefinite leave to remain) have been required to meet level B1 in speaking and listening skills and pass the new Life in the UK test.

The government are introducing the new rules as part of a plan to ‘ensure that those coming to the UK on a family visa with only basic English will become more fluent over time.’

The government will confirm the timing and details of the new rules in coming weeks. They have confirmed that any applications for further leave to remain made before October will not be affected.

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