UK spouse visa rules challenged

27 Jul 2011 | Posted by Carl Thomas

Recently introduced UK spouse visa rules are being challenged by a couple who split their time between the UK and India.

Rashida Chapti is a British citizen who has been married to her husband, Vali, for almost 40 years. For the past 15 years the pair have split their time between Leicester and their Indian home, but Mrs Chapti now wants her husband to move permanently to the UK and is seeking a UK spouse visa to enable him to do so.

However, UK immigration changes last year mean that anybody looking for permission to acquire a UK visa through this route needs to have a basic knowledge of English. Unfortunately in this case, Mr Chapti cannot speak, read or write English.

But Manjit Gill QC, working on behalf of the Chaptis, is fighting against the new UK immigration rule. According to reports from the BBC, he told the High Court in Birmingham that the language rule is targeting specific groups of people.

"The rule is designed, putting it crudely, to keep out persons who tend to marry within their  communities, who tend to have arranged marriages, who tend to be from the Indian subcontinent and the Middle East in particular," said Mr Gill.

He added that the people who are targeted by the rule"are people of certain ethnic origins", which, in Mr Gill's opinion, means there is "a really powerful factor therefore operating here, that the discrimination is being drawn on grounds which are racially discriminatory in a pejorative sense".