UK - Prime Minister to unveil English requirement for migrants

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Gordon Brown is expected to announce plans for requiring skilled and highly skilled migrants to have a solid grasp of English in his first Queen's Speech as prime minister for the United Kingdom on 06 November 2007.

The English language requirement will be introduced as part of a new points-based immigration system that will simplify Britain's various immigration schemes.

A new system, based on five tiers that encompass highly skilled, lower-skilled, students, and temporary workers, will start to be phased in during the first quarter of 2008. The tiered system is inspired by Australia's points-based immigration program.

Rhian Beynon, of the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, feels that the new language requirements will be discriminatory to migrants from outside the European Union:

"It already seems bizarre and discriminatory to non-Europeans, particularly to those from countries where English is spoken, that they should meet an English language requirement to enter, work and settle here while nationals of countries such as Poland and Italy do not," she said.

The Home Office has also hinted at requiring a language test for immigration based on family reunification.