London has decided to introduce a new English language requirement from Monday for non-European migrants who apply for visas to enter or remain in the U.K. as a partner or spouse of a British citizen or a person settled there.

Applicants will need to show that they can speak and understand English to a basic level. They will usually meet this requirement by passing an English language test held by an U.K. Border Agency-approved test provider. The list of approved test providers and further guidance are available on the U.K. Border Agency's website. Applicants need to pass this test and submit an original test certificate with their visa applications.

It is also possible to meet the language requirement by having an academic qualification equivalent to a Bachelor's degree in the U.K. which is offered in English. Visa applicants will need to supply the original qualification certificate.

The new requirement is intended to help migrants integrate into British society — to open up more opportunities, help prevent exploitation, and allow them to benefit from and contribute more to their communities, says a U.K. High Commission release.

This requirement, however, does not apply to visitors or spouses and partners of those in the U.K. on a temporary visa such as workers and students under the points-based system.

Keywords: U.K. visa

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