Employment: Refugees

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 25th November 2015.

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Photo of Imran Hussain Imran Hussain Labour, Bradford East

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment his Department has made on the effect of the withdrawal of ESOL plus mandation funding ESOL on employment prospects for refugees.

Photo of Priti Patel Priti Patel Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)

We are committed to supporting those who are unemployed to finding and keeping employment. In doing so, we ensure that any learning provision is delivered in the context of local employment and labour market demand. Data shows that the numbers of learners in England previously being referred to ESOL Plus (Mandation) provision was significantly lower than originally anticipated and the ESOL Plus (Mandation) budget was underspent in 2014/15.

The decision to remove the specific English Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Plus (Mandation) funding for 2015/16 enables providers, as independent organisations which manage their own budgets, to have the flexibility to use their adult skills budget more effectively to support jobseekers. They are able to continue to provide ESOL training for jobseekers where it is likely to result in the most effective labour market outcome, and jobseekers with poor English language skills can still be mandated to this training. All new claimants are screened for spoken English at their first interview and if below entry level 2, they are referred for a more detailed assessment and, if appropriate, training provision.

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