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Immigration: Language Capability

House of Lords written question – answered on 21st May 2008.

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Photo of Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay Spokesperson in the Lords, Treasury, Spokesperson in the Lords, Work & Pensions

asked Her Majesty's Government:

(a) what standard of spoken or written English, if any, is required for entry for settlement in the United Kingdom by individuals who can show assets of £1,000,000 in a United Kingdom bank account; (b) when that requirement was fixed; and (c) what is the timetable for reviewing that requirement in future.

Photo of Lord West of Spithead Lord West of Spithead Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Security and Counter-terrorism), Home Office, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) (Security and Counter-terrorism)

There are no English-language requirements for entry to the UK in the investor category. Those who wish to apply for settlement as an investor will need to have spent a continuous period of at least five years in the United Kingdom before becoming eligible to apply. Adults aged 18 or over but under the age of 65 who apply for settlement need to demonstrate knowledge of the English language and of "Life in the UK", unless they are applying under one of the categories which does not contain this requirement.

A person can demonstrate that they have sufficient knowledge of the English language and of life in the UK by passing either the "Life in the UK" test, or by obtaining an English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) with citizenship certificate. This requirement was introduced from 2 April 2007.

The policy requirement to demonstrate knowledge of the English language and of "Life in the UK" will continue with the introduction of the points-based system, tier 1 (investors), later this summer.

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