UK plans tougher immigration rules

Immigrants must have reasonable knowledge of English language, said British PM David Cameron.

Updated: Feb 03, 2011, 18:27 PM IST

London: Britain is planning to introduce
tougher rules to ensure that immigrants specially from the
Indian sub-continent have a "reasonable standard" of English,
Prime Minister David Cameron has said.

"Migrant families have an obligation to teach their
children English before they start school. We will bring
forward tougher rules to ensure those arriving in the UK have
a reasonable standard of English," Cameron told the House of

According to a report, one in six children do not
speak English as their first language. Ministers believe that
children brought up here stand a better chance of succeeding
if their parents have a good grasp of the language.

Cameron spoke out after a Commons exchange with
Yorkshire Tory MP Kris Hopkins, who said: "Sadly in Keighley,
too many children start school and don`t speak English."

He then asked Cameron: "Do you agree with me that
there is a responsibility and an obligation upon parents to
make sure their children speak English?"

Cameron replied: "I completely agree with you. The
fact is, in too many cases this isn`t happening.

"The last government did make some progress on making
sure people learned English when they came to our country. I
think we need to go further. If you look at the figures for
the number of people who are brought over as husbands and
wives, particularly from the Indian sub-continent, we should
be putting in place and we will be putting in place
tougher rules to make sure they do learn English so when they
come, if they come, they can be more integrated into our

A recent study by MigrationWatch found that children
who speak English as their first language are in a minority in
some inner-city London schools.

According to a report in the Daily Mail, Birmingham,
Bradford and Leicester all have more than 40 per cent of
pupils in primary schools who do not have English as a first

To date, the government`s policies have focused upon
marriage visas. Since September, those coming to Britain to
marry UK citizens have been forced to sit pre-entry tests
proving a basic level of English.

Lawyers argue that the tests, which apply only to
those from non-English-speaking countries, are discriminatory,
and breach human rights law. But Immigration Minister Damian
Green argued that the English language requirement would allow
for a "more cohesive society".