Immigration bill will mean public sector workers 'must speak fluent English'


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The Independent Online

Public sector workers in "customer-facing" jobs will have to be fluent in English under new legislation, the government has said.

Staff will be expected to have language skills that are at least the equivalent of a grade C at GCSE.

Cabinet Office minister Matt Hancock confirmed the move on Sunday.

"We are controlling immigration for the benefit of all hard-working people," he said.

"That includes making sure that foreign nationals employed in customer-facing public sector roles are able to speak a high standard of English."

The rules, which form part of the government's new Immigration Bill, are set to come into force in September.

There are already some language requirements in force in the public sector – the health sector regulator, for example, can now demand proof of English-language competence from EU applicants.

Doctors are tested by the General Medical Council and rules have been tightened following the 2008 death of David Gray, a British patient who died after a German doctor gave him a lethal dose of painkillers.