Knowing how to speak English is fundamental for newly arrived refugees and migrants wanting to start a life in the UK. Not being able to speak the English language prevents many refugees from getting jobs, making friends and truly integrating with their new community.
We’ve heard from refugees the IRC works that the UK government isn’t providing enough language support to start work and support their families.
Here’s why language support is so vital to help refugees.
Refugees want to work, support their families and contribute in the UK
Knowing how to speak English is vital for refugees to start work in the UK. The quicker they’re able to get a job in the UK, the quicker they’ll be able to provide for themselves, their families and contribute to the economy.
The English language is basic and essential for anyone who lives in the UK. It is difficult for those who don’t speak English to evolve, support themselves and the community.” - IRC client Rabab.
In order to continue working in some professions such as doctors or teachers, refugees must retraining with a professional qualification in English. Therefore, learning fluent English is a vital step in utilising their skills and experience.
Rebuilding your life in a new country is challenging even without a langauge barrier
Refugees and asylum seekers who flee conflict and persecution are forced to leave everything they know behind. When they land in a safe place, such as the UK, they often have to start their lives all over again. This includes making friends, starting school and finding a new job.
Arriving somewhere completely new can be extremely isolating for many refugees and asylum seekers in the UK. Knowing how to speak English means refugees can feel more independent as they start life again. Simple life tasks such as going to the shops, booking doctor's appointments and supporting children in school are all difficult without speaking English. Knowing how to speak English in the UK also means being able to have more conversations, joining community groups and making new friends.
The British public support more English language support for refugees
According to a recent YouGov poll, 64% of the public would support the Government increasing English language support for refugees. The British public understand that in order to integrate fully, refugees need to know English.
Raising awareness of the importance of English language support for refugees
Rabab, who joined the IRC’s leadership course, took to the streets of Brighton to see how well they know popular phrases and sayings. Watch IRC client Rabab quiz the members of the public on British Idioms. As Rabab spoke to people about difficult British sayings, we got people thinking about how challenging English is to learn, highlighting the need for more support for refugees learning English and integrating into life in the UK.
Rabab is took part in the IRC’s leadership course and provides English language provision for refugees with a focus on employment with The Launchpad Collective.
“Working with the Launchpad Collective is a new journey in my life,” Says Rabab. “It has given me a great opportunity to meet and support a lot of talented and experienced refugees from different backgrounds and build their confidence through our Work Ready English Program and Tailored Support.”
How the UK Government can strengthen refugee resettlement and integration’.
The IRC is calling on the UK government to develop a National Intergration Strategy. This includes including English language and job readiness support to develop thriving and cohesive communities.
Follow the link to read the IRC's latest report ‘FROM HARM TO HOME: How the UK Government can strengthen refugee resettlement and integration’.