British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Sunday that immigrants who have lived in the country for more than two and a half years will have to demonstrate that their English has improved or face being deported. "You can't guarantee you'll be able to stay if you're not improving your language. It is tough, but people coming to our country have responsibility too," he said.

The changes would apply from October this year to immigrants who arrive in the UK on a spousal visa, reported The Telegraph. Currently, immigrant women who come to the UK on a five-year spousal visa have to prove they can speak basic English.

Cameron also launched a £20 million (Rs 2 billion) language fund for women in isolated communities. He said new figures showed that some 190,000 Muslim women speak little or no English despite many having lived in Britain for decades.

The Conservative leader clarified his remarks while speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme. He said he was not "blaming people who can't speak English". Writing in The Times newspaper, Cameron said it was time to confront the "backward attitudes" held by a minority of Muslim men who were exerting "damaging control" over the women in their lives, reported AFP.