Blackledge A (2009) "As a country we do expect": The further extension of language testing regimes in the United Kingdom. Language Assessment Quarterly, 6 (1), pp. 6-16. https://doi.org/10.1080/15434300802606465
In recent times debates about language and languages have increasingly become the battleground on which debates about immigration to the United Kingdom (U.K.) are fought. Since 2002 a series of legislative measures has been introduced to ensure that those who wish to become naturalised as citizens of the U.K. or to settle permanently in the U.K. must demonstrate their proficiency in English before they can be awarded such status. In a recent measure, the government proposes that applicants for marriage visas to gain entry to the U.K. to join their spouses will be required to demonstrate their English language proficiency in order to be granted leave to enter the country. The legislation to impose language tests, and the debates surrounding it, have frequently referred to the importance of requiring "spouses" to demonstrate their English language proficiency in order to ensure social cohesion and national unity. As this argument is recontextualised it becomes a universal point-of-view, or doxa (Bourdieu, 1998a), an argument that does not need to be stated because it has been stated before and is uncontested. In this article I focus in particular on the argument that language tests are required to deal with the perceived threat to social cohesion posed by immigrant spouses who lack English proficiency.
Language Assessment Quarterly: Volume 6, Issue 1