For anyone who doesn't already speak English, learning the language can be one of the most daunting parts of applying for a UK visa. But the language tests for visa application have become much tighter over recent years and learning English is becoming increasingly important.
To this end, the government has dedicated funding to help immigrants. Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, announced that £6 million worth of funding to be diverted to help set up six new language programmes to help bridge language gaps within immigrant communities.
“The new projects will be much more tailored, using surroundings familiar to the learner such as faith venues, and harnessing the volunteering power of the local community,” wrote Mr Pickles in a recent article for the Daily Telegraph.
He added that he is keen for immigrants to work hard in order to “develop a stake in the place they now call home”. To this end, the programmes will help those who struggle with the language to break down the barriers that currently separate some groups of people from their local community.
Anyone applying for UK visas or permission to remain in the country must meet the Home Office English language requirements. Applicants must either be a national of a majority English-speaking country; have passed an approved English language test at the appropriate level or hold a degree that was taught in English and is the equivalent to at least a UK bachelor's degree.
There are certain exceptions to this rule, including any applicants who are over 65 when they made their application; people with a physical or mental condition that would prevent them meeting the requirement and anyone with exceptional compassionate circumstances preventing them from meeting the requirement.