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Immigrants must improve English in two-and-a-half years or face deportation, says David Cameron
- Updated: 20th January 2016
Immigrants will have to demonstrate how they have improved their English after two-and-a-half years or face being deported, David Cameron has said.
The Prime Minister admitted that the crackdown could see families being broken up.
the changes would apply from October this year to immigrants who arrive in the UK on a spousal visa.
Mr Cameron also said that he felt Muslim women should remove the full face veil when going to schools or courts where there is an official uniform policy.
Currently, immigrant women who come to the UK on a five-year spousal visa have to demonstrate that they can speak basic English.
Under the new plans, Mr Cameron said he would “toughen” up the rules to force them to demonstrate that their English language skills has improved after two-and-a-half years or face deportation.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “When people come under a spousal visa, after two and a half years they should be improving their English and we will be testing that – and that is important.”
Mr Cameron said he was not “blaming people who can’t speak English”, but he was singling out Muslim men who kept women confined at home without a male relative.
He said: “This is happening in our country and it is not acceptable. We should be very proud or our values, our liberalism, our tolerance.
“We are one of the most successful multi-ethnic, multi-faith democracies in the world. Where there is segregation it is holding people, it is not in tune with British values and it needs to go.”
Mr Cameron added: “People coming to our country – they have responsibilities too.”
The Prime Minister admitted the changes could see children being separated from their mothers.
He was asked during the interview whether a woman who came to the UK under the spousal settlement programme and had children in Britain could still be deported.
Mr Cameron replied: “They can’t guarantee that they’ll be able to stay.
“We’re now going to toughen up so half-way through the spousal settlement programme – two and a half years – there’ll be another opportunity to make sure your English is improving.
“You can’t guarantee you’ll be able to stay if you’re not improving your language. It is tough but people coming to our country have responsibility too.”
On face veils, Mr Cameron said women should remove their face veils in schools, courts or at the border where people need to see their face.
He said: “In our country people should be free to wear what they like, live how they like and the rest of it.
“But what does matter – if a school has a particular uniform policy, sensitively put in place, and people want to flout that uniform policy often for reasons that are really connected with religion I think you should come down on the side of the school.”