U.K. government misspells 'language' while announcing English tests for migrants

Criticism over the British government's new language requirements for immigrant spouses came to a head this weekend with a mistake deemed as "beyond parody."

Some people found the error so ironic they thought it might actually be a parody

Criticism over the British government's new English language requirements for immigrant spouses came to head this weekend after Twitter users noticed a spelling mistake on the very website meant to explain them. ( O'Leary)

A seemingly rough week for British Prime Minister David Cameron came to an almost outlandish end Friday on when, four days after sparking controversy with his comments about Muslim women learning English, the U.K. government published an announcement about its new language requirements for migrants.

"The new A2 requirement delivers the government's manifesto commitment to ensure that those coming to the UK on a family visa with only basic English will become more fluent over time," reads the news release as it currently appears on

"It will mean that the person can better engage in everyday conversation and thereby better participate and integrate in everyday life in the community."

Unlike Cameron's own announcement of the plan last week during an interview with BBC Radio, the U.K. Home Office document makes no mention of deportation, specific religious groups, or combating extremism.

What it did contain was an unmistakable error, right at the top of the page:

The fact that the word "language" had been misspelled in an announcement about the British government's new language testing rules for family route migrants grabbed much attention online over the weekend.

Some people found the incident so ironic they thought it might actually be a joke.

The spelling mistake, or typo as it may be, had been corrected by Friday afternoon.

In response to the error, a spokesperson for Cameron told local reporters that "all of us are open to mistakes at times."

"The Prime Minister is fully confident that his team speak English competently," the spokesperson said. "I'm sure there have been a few errors occasionally in newspapers, too."

Fair point.

When announcing the new language plan last week, Cameron said approximately £20-million ($41.5-million Cdn) had been pledged to fund English classes for Muslim women immigrants. He also warned some could be deported if they fail to reach certain standards.

"I think it's quite right to say to people who come to our country that there are many rights that you have here — it's a fantastic country to live in," he said. "But there are also obligations that we should put on people who come to our country, and chief amongst them should be obligations to learn English because then you can integrate, you can take advantage of the opportunities here and you can help us to build the strong country that we want."


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