English Language Teaching: Refugees

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 5:13 pm on 24th October 2017.

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Photo of Brandon Lewis Brandon Lewis The Minister for Immigration 5:13 pm, 24th October 2017

My right hon. Friend is always free to press me for a response. I appreciate her point, but I am afraid she will have to be a bit more patient with me and my colleagues across Government before we respond fully.

We recognise the point made this afternoon that the ability to speak English is a key enabler for integration and participation in society. As my right hon. Friend says, I feel very strongly about that. It is fundamental for someone to be able to play a part in British society and to get on. Being able to speak English is also a necessary stepping-stone skill for those who are resettled here as refugees or granted refugee status on arrival. Once someone has that status, they are given access to the labour market and to benefits and are encouraged to access the provision that is there to support UK residents in developing the relevant skills. The ability to speak English is an important skill.