Since November 2010, non-EEA (European Economic Area) partners of British citizens or persons settled in the UK applying for a visa under the family route have been required to demonstrate that they can speak and understand basic English. Now, these persons will need to prove they can speak and understand English at A2 level.

On the 18th of January, the Prime Minister announced a new English language requirement for migrant families seeking to extend their stay in the UK. After two-and-a half-years in the UK, if non-EEA national partners and parents on the five-year route to settlement would like further leave to remain, they will need to pass a speaking and listening test at an A2 level.

The new A2 requirement delivers the government’s manifesto commitment to ensure that anybody coming to the UK on a family visa with only basic English will become more fluent over time. The idea behind this is that the person can better engage in everyday conversation and thereby better participate and integrate in everyday life in British society.

However, the government recognises the need to give any migrants affected sufficient time to prepare for the new test. That’s why this new requirement will not be implemented before October 2016. It will won’t affect anybody required to apply for further leave to remain before then. The precise timing and further details will be confirmed by the Home Office in the next few weeks and published on

The original B1 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.

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