|Immigration crackdown Posted by Ian at 8 38 PM on Saturday, June 5|
IMMIGRANTS who want to marry Brits will be forced to take an English language test in a new crackdown on sham weddings.
Immigration Minister Damian Green will unveil the plans this week, we can reveal.
Potential brides and grooms from outside the EU will be required to prove they can speak the same language as their partner, as well as English.
The test is designed to prove that anyone who moves to Britain is planning to integrate themselves into society.
An Immigration Service source told the News of the World: "We are seeing hundreds of weddings in the UK where the supposed happy couple can’t speak a word to each other.
"We need a fresh start and the way to do that is to make sure people who want to get married can speak at least some English."
The move is the first stage in a rolling clampdown that will also see a new cap on non-EU immigration into Britain. Figures to be revealed bv the end of July will be set by the Migration Advisory Committee.
It will take advice from a range of government departments on how many jobs need to be filled by economic migrants and if they can be done by unemployed Brits.
That system will be designed to ensure that, for example, a highly skilled doctor is not refused a work visa because lots of unskilled farm workers have been allowed into the UK. During the election campaign, Prime Minister David Cameron said: "People will judge us on our results.
"If net immigration is 150,000, sometimes 200,000, a year, we have said it should be tens of thousands — a very significant cut."
The new system will be enforced by a Border Police Force with full police powers.
After joining the coalition government, the Lib Dems abandoned their controversial policy to offer some illegal immigrants an amnesty. It was feared this could lead to more than one million people gaining citizenship.
But the Conservatives agreed to their demand to stop children being detained for "immigration purposes".
The crackdown on marriage scams is a top priority and set to be enforced immediately.
In 2004 Labour introduced a law to end "sham marriages" between two strangers, in cases where one was an EU national.
The number of suspected scam cases fell from 3,500 to under 300 in just two years. But the House of Lords said the restrictions were unlawful.
Since that judgment in 2008, the number has risen again by 54 per cent in England and Wales.
Before the 2004 legislation, research showed as many as one in four weddings in some parts of Britain may have been a sham.
Hundreds of thousands of migrants are thought to have married EU nationals just to stay in Britain. Gangs charge up to £10,000 to arrange the weddings.