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Asylum: English Language

Volume 462: debated on Thursday 28 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has estimated any additional costs for interpretation services provided by his Department which might result from the decision to end free English classes for asylum seekers, refugees in work and migrant workers. (125557)

Most asylum seekers already request that an interpreter be provided at their asylum interview. The costs of providing this service are already met by the Border and Immigration Agency. We do not therefore anticipate any additional costs arising from the decision to end free access to ESOL courses for asylum seekers. Refugees on low incomes continue to be entitled to free English classes. The Border and Immigration Agency funds the Sunrise pilot scheme which provides caseworker support to new refugees in accessing appropriate mainstream benefits, ESOL provision and employment services and opportunities. Other migrant workers have limited face-to-face contact with the Home Office.