Migrants must speak English

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THE island’s Immigration Office has brought in a new set of language requirements for non-European migrants who move here to live with their partners.

Anyone from outside the European Economic Area who wants to enter or extend their stay in the Isle of Man as the partner of a British citizen or a person already settled here must now show that they can speak and understand English. This requirement was introduced on February 28.

It applies to applications for entry clearance, leave to enter, leave to remain and further leave to remain.

But it does not apply to indefinite leave to remain or citizenship applications where the existing Knowledge of Life (Life in the UK and Islands test) requirement continues to apply.

An applicant can meet the requirement in a number of ways.

They can pass an acceptable test at a minimum level of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) with an approved provider.

Or they can be a national of a majority English speaking country, or they can meet the requirement by having an academic qualification equivalent to a Bachelor’s degree in the UK which was taught in English.

Anyone who is applying abroad for leave to enter the Isle of Man to join their partner who is settled here will need to prove their ability to speak and understand English when they apply for their visa. Someone who is already in the Isle of Man in another category and wants to apply to stay here as the partner of a settled person will need to prove their English ability when they apply to the Isle of Man Immigration Office for permission to stay.

Those already here as the partner of a settled person would, after they have been here for two years, normally be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain, provided they have passed the ‘Knowledge of Life in the UK and Islands’ test (KOL).

Tests of language and of UK and Islands life for citizenship applicants were introduced in November 2005 and were then extended in May 2007 to those adults seeking indefinite leave to remain.

The tests, which take place at Isle of Man College, consists of 25 questions, 19 of which are based on the information contained in the handbook ‘Life in the United Kingdom: A Journey to Citizenship’ and six on the supplement entitled ‘Life in the Isle of Man’.

Anyone who has not passed the KOL and applies for further leave to stay will then need to meet the new English language requirement.

There will be period of transition for these applicants to allow for this requirement or KOL to be met. More details can be obtained from the Immigration Office on 685203.

Anyone who thinks they may need to meet the English language requirement for an application to stay here should contact the Isle of Man College on 648203 for information about the availability of suitable courses and tests. Further details can be found on the Chief Secretary’s Office website at www.gov.im/cso/immigration

l Email newsdesk@newsiom.co.im if you have taken the test

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