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English language proficiency a must for immigrants, says UK Govt

Written by: Staff

London, Dec 5 (UNI) In a ruling, the British Government has said foreigners willing to settle in the United Kingdom will now have to undergo compulsory English language tests and also have to adapt themselves to the British way of life from next year.

This will include long-term immigrants along with the people who seek UK citizenship.

Liam Byrne, Britain's Immigration minister, said, ''It is essential that migrants wishing to live in the UK permanently recognise that there are responsibilities that go with this. Having a good grasp of English is essential in order for them to play a full role in society and properly integrate into our communities.'' Interestingly, applicants who already possess a good standard of English will only have to take the existing ''Life in the UK exam''.

However, immigrants with poor English can take a specially-developed ''English for Speakers of Other Languages'' course with a simplified citizenship course.

Habib Rahman, Chief Executive of the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants said subjecting applicants for indefinite leave to remain in the UK (ILR) to the same tests as those seeking British citizenship would send out ''confusing messages''.

''ILR does not confer the same set of rights and protections on applicants as UK citizenship. Persons with ILR are still subject to the immigration rules in a way that UK citizens are not,'' he said, adding, ''It is evident that education providers cannot deal with existing demand for English language training. We question why the Government wants to generate more demand.'' Meanwhile, the 'Life in the UK' test is aimed at those who have a good grasp over English and its pass mark will be at least 75 per cent.

However, those who are less accomplished in English have the facility of attending a combined language and citizenship class.

Mentionably, Britain is considered as one of the most favourite destinations for immigrants from all over the world. Last year, a total of 180,000 people were granted settlement to stay there.


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