On 16th December 2011 the High Court in Birmingham dismissed the challenge to the introduction of the English Language test for foreign spouses and partners wishing to join their spouses/partners in the UK for settlement. The test does not apply to countries designated as “majority English speaking” and there are also other exceptions.
The challenge was that the rule is a disproportionate and an unlawful interference with a couple’s right to family life and to marry and discriminatory on grounds of race and nationality. The Home Secretary maintained that the new rule was a justified measure to promote integration and to protect public services.
The Judge ruled that the test did not prevent marriages and the Home Secretaries aim in introducing the rule served a legitimate aim and was not a disproportionate interference with family life. The Judge also found against the claims of discrimination.
The Judge granted permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal which recognises the importance of the issues raised in this case.