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Challenge to new language requirements


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UPDATE: challenge successful.

Penningtons have dropped me a line with some interesting information about a challenge to the new English language requirements for foreign Tier 4 students. The challenge is being brought by English UK, a national association of over 400 English language centres. The hearing is listed for 29-30 June and the excellent Joe Middleton and Judith Farbey are instructed as Counsel.

Permission was apparently granted even before the Home Office acknowledgement of service was filed, which is unusual, and in doing so Mr Justice Collins commented:

“It is difficult to see how the extension of the level of English to those who come to study English can reasonably be justified.”

I imagine the challenge is being brought because the proposed changes will force many English language colleges out of business. It is certainly difficult to understand why a reasonably high minimum English requirement is being introduced for those who wish to learn English in an immersive and colloquial environment. If the concern is about ‘bogus colleges’ then there are surely more sensible, proportionate and targeted means to deal with the problem.

The grounds seem to be essentially that the Immigration Rule under which the changes are being brought (para 120(a) of Appendix A) is ultra vires and that the decision is irrational. The outcome of the big Points Based System test case in the Court of Appeal will of course have a major impact on this challenge, although it looks as if the English UK challenge is free standing.

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The Free Movement blog was founded in 2007 by Colin Yeo, a barrister at Garden Court Chambers specialising in immigration law. The blog provides updates and commentary on immigration and asylum law by a variety of authors.


2 Responses

  1. Surely the idea behind this change is not to close colleges, but to force those coming for a short English course to use the Student Visitor route, which is outside the PBS, rather than Tier 4. A Student Visitor cannot bring dependants or work, cannot extend their stay or change status, and can be asked to show that they have funding for the whole of their stay. For what it’s worth, non-visa national Student Visitor can come under the visa waiver if they wish.