On 3 November 2016, the Home Office announced changes to the English language requirement for persons applying for further leave to remain as a partner or parent on the 5-year route to settlement under Appendix FM. Introduced by Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules HC667. These changes are set to take effect from 1 May 2017.
A2 English Language Requirement for the family route
From 1 May 2017, applicants who have completed 2.5 years (30 months) in the UK with leave as a partner or parent under Appendix FM to the Immigration Rules, and who are applying for further leave to remain in that category, will be required to obtain an approved English language speaking and listening qualification at level A2 or higher, unless they:
- Are a national of a majority English-speaking country;
- Hold a degree taught or researched in English; or
- Are exempted from the requirement.
Who will need to meet the requirement?
The new A2 requirement will apply to the applicants who are applying for further leave to remain on a 5-year route to settlement:
- As a partner of a British citizen or settled person; or
- As a parent of a British citizen or settled person; or
- As the post flight partner of a refugee or person with humanitarian protection.
When will it take effect?
The new rules will take effect on 1 May 2017. However, the most important consideration will be the applicant’s initial visa expiry date. A partner or parent whose leave is due to expire from 1 May 2017 and who makes an application on or before 30 April 2017 will be subject to the A2 requirement if they are applying for further leave to remain. A partner or parent whose initial period of leave to enter or remain is due to expire before 1 May 2017 will not be affected by the new A2 requirement.
Are there any exemptions?
An applicant will be exempted from the new A2 requirement if at the date of application:
- They are aged 65 or over;
- They have a disability which prevents them from meeting the requirement; or
- There are exceptional circumstances which prevent them from being able to meet the requirement.
An applicant who was exempted from the A1 English language requirement at entry clearance or the initial leave to remain stage will be required to meet it when they apply for further leave to remain after 30 months in the UK, unless they remain exempted on the same or a different basis.
For those who were exempted in the initial application, they will only need to meet level A1 (not A2) when they apply for an extension.
What if I fail to meet the requirement of level A2?
An applicant who fails to meet the A2 English language requirement for further leave to remain as a partner or parent under the five-year route to settlement after 2.5 years (30 months) in the UK will be granted leave to remain on family or private life grounds under the 10-year route to settlement providing that they meet the other relevant requirements of Appendix FM or demonstrate exceptional circumstances.
Will any applicants not be required to meet the new A2 requirement?
The following applicants will not be be required to satisfy the new A2 English language requirement:
- Applicants under the 10-year partner and parent routes
- Partners granted leave under part 8 of the Immigration Rules.
- Partners of members of HM Forces who have been granted 5 years leave to remain under Appendix Armed Forces and who are not required to apply for further leave after 2.5 years.
Who are the approved English language providers?
The following test providers are approved under the Immigration Rules to provide A2 level English language speaking and listening tests for applicants applying for further leave as a partner or parent under Appendix FM:
- Trinity College London
- IELTS SELT Consortium
Contact Our Immigration Barristers
For advice and assistance in relation to an application for entry clearance, further leave to remain or settlement as a partner or parent under Appendix FM, contact our immigration barristers in London on 0203 617 9173 or via our online enquiry form.