UK visa holders urged to learn language

09 Mar 2012 | Posted by Carl Thomas

UK visa holders are among those to have been encouraged to improve their understanding of English in order to help integrate different communities into British society.

Eric Pickles, the communities secretary, called upon teachers to help schoolchildren from different backgrounds to speak English "like a native" in order to help the younger generations to improve their language skills and find their place in Britain.

In addition to this, Mr Pickles suggested that the authorities should stop translating official documents into various different languages in a bid to prompt migrants to learn English for themselves.

"In terms of wanting people, encouraging people, to be part of British society, they can't do that unless they have more than an understanding of English," he stated.

"If we don’t get our resident population with an understanding of English, then they become a sub-class that is virtually unemployable or are stuck in a ghetto. We should not be turning people out of our schools who aren’t able to speak English like a native," Mr Pickles added.

The comments were made at the launch of a £10 million grant to support the teaching of English language.

The communities minister received a low level of criticism for his statements on a "sub-class" of immigrant populations. However, Mr Pickles was keen to assert that that the British government does not want to take the route of the French. He observed: "We are a tolerant nation and frankly I have absolutely no patience in adopting a kind of French system that is going to remove people from wearing headscarfs."