A new law compelling immigrants to be able to speak English to join their spouses living in the UK is "blatantly racially discriminatory", a court has heard.
In the first legal challenge to rules championed by Home Secretary Theresa May and brought in at the end of last year, three couples have claimed the law is a breach of their human rights. One of each of the couples is entitled to live in the UK and wants to bring their spouse to the country but cannot because of the language requirement.
Manjit Gill QC, representing Rashida Chapti, 54, a British citizen, and her husband Vali Chapti, 57, who wants to join her in the UK, told the High Court sitting in Birmingham that the law deliberately aims to keep out Arabs and those of Asian origin.
"The rule is designed, putting it crudely, to keep out persons who tend to marry within their communities, who tend to have arranged marriages, who tend to be from the Indian subcontinent and the Middle East in particular," he said.
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