English Language: Education

Department for Education written question – answered on 1st July 2019.

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Photo of Baroness Lister of Burtersett Baroness Lister of Burtersett Labour

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the integration benefits to communities particularly in terms of integration of allowing asylum seekers to have access to free English language classes.

Photo of Lord Agnew of Oulton Lord Agnew of Oulton The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

Through the Adult Education Budget (AEB), asylum seekers aged 19 or over are currently eligible to receive funding after they have lived in the UK for 6 months or longer and while their claim is being considered by the Home Office or are in the care of the local authority. If they have failed in their claim but are in appeal or have been granted support under the Immigration and Asylum Act (1999), they can still receive funding.

Asylum seekers are not entitled to the same work-related benefits as those granted refugee status or humanitarian protection and therefore cannot access full funding for English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) courses through the AEB. If they meet the criteria set out above, they will instead be co-funded 50% of the course cost. This is because not all those who make their own way to the UK to seek asylum will be found to be refugees and nearly all will have travelled through other safe countries to get to the UK. The government will continue to consider any new evidence put forward on this issue.

From the start of the 2019/20 academic year approximately 50% of the AEB will be devolved to 6 Mayoral Combined Authorities (MCAs) and the Greater London Authority (GLA). The MCAs and GLA will be responsible for commissioning and funding AEB provision, including ESOL, for learners that are resident in their areas who meet basic eligibility criteria. The Education and Skills Funding Agency will be responsible for funding AEB learners that are resident in non-devolved areas.

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