Supreme Court confirms Spouse English Language Requirements

The Supreme Court today upheld the English Language requirement for Spouses ruling that article eight of the ECHR is not infringed by the policy.

Since 2010 spouses have been required to pass an English language test before they can apply to join their spouse or civil partner in the UK. A case had been brought by two British women whose foreign national husbands cannot speak English and have been refused visas under this policy.  Their husbands do not live near to approved test centres in their home countries and cannot learn English online. The women argued that as it was not possible for their spouses to achieve the English Language requirement the Immigration Rules breach their right to a private and family life.

The Home Secretary argued that entry clearance officers individually assess each application for a Spouse visa and can grant them outside of the immigration rules where article eight rights applied.  Likewise, applicants have the right to appeal on the basis of article eight if their visa was refused.

The Supreme Court agreed with the Home Office and unanimously dismissed the appeal on the grounds that the rule did not interfere disproportionately with the right to family life.

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26th November 2015

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