Foreign brides and grooms will have to prove they can speak English before being allowed to move to the UK under new rules which come in to force on Monday.
Migrants wanting to marry a Briton or other UK resident will have to pass a basic English test before they are handed a visa, The Telegraph reports.
AdvertisementThe applicant will have to take an oral exam in which they must demonstrate a command of the English language to the equivalent level of a six-year-old. It is expected that will involve up to 50 hours tuition, which they must pay for themselves, before being granted a visa.
But the new rule will discriminate against British citizens because EU laws mean other Europeans living here can bring in a foreign partner from anywhere in the world without having to pass the test.
This is because the spouse of an EU citizen is automatically given the same right to free movement under the European Union's rules.
This does not apply while an EU member is in their home country, such as a Briton living in the UK.
The new rule will affect around 40,000 spouses, engaged migrants and gay partners each year.
Damian Green, the immigration minister, said: "Being able to speak English should be a prerequisite for anyone who wants to settle in the UK - that is why we are making it compulsory for migrant spouses and partners to demonstrate they can before we grant them a marriage visa."
Green added: "Speaking English promotes integration into British society and broadens opportunities. The new rules will help ensure that migrant spouses are able to participate in British life from the outset and integrate more easily into our society."