A new immigration rule requiring people to be able to speak English to move to the UK to be with their spouse is a breach of human rights, a court has heard.
A couple have requested a judicial review to challenge the rule, which they claim contravenes their rights to a family life and is discriminatory.
Rashida Chapti, a British citizen, and her husband, Vali, who is an Indian national and does not speak, read or write English, have applied for him to be allowed to join her in the UK.
The couple have been married for 37 years and have six children. Mrs Chapti has reportedly been travelling between India and England for 15 years and has now asked for her husband to join her.
Under immigration rules which came into force last November, he cannot do so due to an English language requirement, thought to be part of the Government's pledge to reduce net migration. The Chaptis and two other couples have begun proceedings to
contest the rule.
At the High Court in Birmingham, Manjit Gill QC, representing the Chaptis, told the court that the requirement to speak English contravenes several articles of the European Convention on Human Rights. He said individuals have certain core
rights , such as the right to marry, to find a family, to cohabit and to live in a family unit, a family being an essential building block of society.
Someone who is settled here, someone who is a British citizen, is ordinarily entitled to have their spouse living with them, providing it is a genuine marriage, providing there is no recourse to public funds, he said. He said the rule
prevented people who are British citizens from living with their spouses.