THE Supreme Court has thrown out a challenge against an immigration rule requiring people to speak English before moving to the UK.
Two women, both UK citizens, want their foreign husbands to join them in the UK and argued that the need to speak English was “unreasonable, disproportionate and discriminatory”.
Mrs Saiqa Bibi, and Mrs Saffana Ali claimed that the requirement violated their right to a private and family life under European law arguing that in both cases it would be impossible for their husbands to pass a test before coming to Britain.
Mr Bibi is from Pakistan and the court was told the nearest approved test centre was 71 miles away.
Mrs Ali’s, who lives in Yemen and was described as having no formal education, also could not access an approved test centre because there allegedly isn’t one in the country.
But today a panel of five judges unanimously dismissed the appeal saying the rule did not infringe article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
In spite of the ruling court president, Lord Neuberger, urged caution saying that although the rule is legal it is “virtually certain” that in a large number of cases it would breach European law.
Lord Hodge said to avoid the rule breaching the law in future: “The Government may need to take further steps toward providing opportunities for spouses and partners to meet the requirement, or may need to amend its guidance.”