Tue, 01 Mar 2011
The Government’s new policy of insisting that spouses and civil partners of foreign nationals must be able to speak English suffered a major setback after a ruling by the High Court on 1st March 2011.
Mr Justice Beatson sitting at the Birmingham Administrative Court on 1st March 2011 granted permission to apply for Judicial Review to three Claimants. They had each sought to have their spouses join them in this country. They are nationals of Pakistan and India. They do not speak, read or write English. They had contended that a new amendment to the Immigration Rules which was brought in very recently was discriminatory as the change of rules applied only to certain countries and not for example to Canada or Australia or the European Union. The Claimants had also asserted that the Government’s Rule meant that their Article 8 family life and other human rights were breached contrary to the European Convention on Human Rights.
In a landmark judgement, Mr Justice Beatson has granted permission to apply for Judicial Review to each of the Claimants after a contested hearing today. The case is of some significance; the Government had contended that the English language requirement was for good reasons stating that, “The new rules will help promote the economic well-being of the UK, for example by encouraging integration and protecting public services. It will also assist in removing cultural barriers, broaden opportunities for migrants and help to ensure that they are equipped to play a full part in British life”. The statistics presented to the Court showed that this would affect many thousands of potential immigrants to the United Kingdom. Many believe that this was an attempt to reduce the numbers seeking entry from outside the EU and from outside of the USA, Canada and Australia. If that was the Government’s attempts then it leaves its policy in disarray and will mean yet another question mark over the Government’s commitment to seeing a reduction in the numbers of immigrants that will be granted entry to the United Kingdom.
The Court has listed the cases for a substantive Judicial Review hearing over two days on 18th and 19th July 2011.