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Immigrants should be made to learn English on arrival to help integration in UK, parliamentary report finds

A new report from the all-party parliamentary group on social integration also said regions could be handed control over immigration policy 

Tom Peck
Thursday 05 January 2017 01:12 GMT
Chuka Umunna is chair of the parliamentary group on social integration
Chuka Umunna is chair of the parliamentary group on social integration (Getty)

New immigrants to Britain should be made to learn English on arrival in compulsory classes, according to Parliament’s new all-party group on social integration.

MPs and peers from all parties are co-authors of a new report that also suggests handing immigration powers directly to regions ahead of the current centralised system. It comes in the wake of a Louise Casey’s report last month that warned that as Britain is becoming more diverse, it is also becoming more divided. Dame Casey’s report also recommended that immigrants be required to swear an ‘integration oath.’

The all-party parliamentary group on social integration concludes that speaking English is “the key to full participation in our society and economy” and a “prerequisite for meaningful engagement with most British people”.

The study added: “The APPG believes that all immigrants should be expected to have either learned English before coming to the UK or be enrolled in compulsory ESOL [English for Speakers of Other Languages] classes upon arrival.”

It also proposed new policies for better dispersing migrant flows around the country, helping regional economies in the process.

“Through the introduction of policies aimed at directing population flows to areas of the country which require higher levels of immigration or do not currently attract a great many immigrants, policymakers might minimise strain on public services and on community relations whilst bolstering regional economies,” the report said.

It highlighted the system in Canada, where provincial authorities can set their own specific requirements for immigrants.

Labour MP Chuka Umunna, chair of the APPG, said: “It’s clear that immigration has impacted on different communities in different ways and the pace of change has alarmed many.

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“The Government has a duty to address the lack of integration of immigrants if it is to address this. Failing to do so has left a vacuum for extremists and peddlers of hate to exploit.”

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