UK Supreme Court Declares English Competence Test Mandatory For Foreign Spouses
The UK Supreme Court ruled that foreign spouses of UK citizens need to be able to speak English before settling in the UK. The provision, which was announced in 2010, requires an immigrant to be able to speak English before joining his or her spouse in the UK.
Saiqa Bibi and Saffana Ali were the two British citizens who brought their cases forward because their husbands are immigrants from Yemen and Pakistan. The women claimed that the requirement would force their husbands to have to learn computer skills and travel long distances to learn English.
They wanted the court to declare that this rule was discriminatory and unreasonable. However, the court said that Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights justifies direct discrimination, even on grounds of nationality. The court also said that it was not proven that it was “unreasonable” to expect that immigrants learn basic English.