Immigrants must improve their English or face deportation - Cameron
Published 19/01/2016 | 02:30
Immigrants will have to demonstrate how they have improved their English after two-and-a-half years or face being deported, British Prime Minister David Cameron has said.
Mr Cameron 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 have 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 confine women to the home unless accompanied by 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."
He 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."
However, the plans were criticised by Baroness Warsi, the former Conservative party chairman who became the first Conservative Muslim Cabinet minister under Mr Cameron in the last parliament.
She also wrote on Twitter: "And why should it just be Muslim women who have the opportunity to learn English? Why not anyone who lives in the UK and can't speak English." (© Daily Telegraph, London)