Right to a Voice Campaign
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06 November 2009
Right to a Voice Pledge
NIACE wants the Government to reverse its policy and offer asylum seekers the right to funded English language courses from the first day they arrive in the UK. We call on the Government to uphold its moral responsibility to help those seeking safety in our country by meeting the need for education from the day they arrive.
In 2007 the UK Government withdrew the right of asylum seekers to attend publicly funded English language courses for their first six months in the UK. Asylum seekers come to the UK fleeing from traumatic experiences and persecution. Their first six months in the country are crucial for dealing with feelings of isolation, mental health problems and encouraging community cohesion. Early English language skills are also vital for understanding medical advice, communicating with public bodies and presenting their case efficiently to the Home Office. Furthermore the cost of not funding English courses is a false economy. By denying asylum seekers their right to education the Government has implemented a policy that is spending more money to create misery. Estimates done using data on the decisions of asylum seekers from non-English speaking countries in 2007, benefit and translation costs and the price of English language courses show the possibility of a 17% efficiency save, approximately £8.3m a year, from reversing the current policy and offering free English classes for all asylum seekers from the day they arrive.
Please sign our new pledge to show your support of the campaign http://www.niace.org.uk/rtv-pledge