New English Language Rules for Migrant Public Sector Workers

Tom Whitehead, Telegraph, September 17, 2015

Migrant workers will be barred from front line public sector jobs unless they speak English, under a new immigration crackdown.

Illegal immigrants will also face jail if caught driving in the UK, under proposals contained in the Immigration Bill.

Landlords who house illegal migrants could be jailed for up to five years and rogue employers could have their businesses closed down.

The crack down is part of the Government drive to make life as tough as possible for illegal migrants and make the UK less attractive for them.

Under the planned laws workers in local authorities, health, education and other roles that deal directly with the public will have to speak fluent English. Migrants who hold these jobs will need to demonstrate that they can speak English, though details of how this will be tested haven’t been made public. A code of practice for employers will also be published in the future.

Other measures will see those in the country unlawfully found behind the wheel will face up to six months in prison, an unlimited fine and have the vehicle seized.

Immigration enforcement officers will be given powers to search people and properties and seize driving licences of suspected illegal immigrants.

Those working in the country unlawfully will also have their wages confiscated and face up to six months in prison.

Publishing the bill, Immigration Minister James Brokenshire said: “The message is clear–if you are here illegally, you shouldn’t be entitled to receive the everyday benefits and services available to hard-working UK families and people who have come to this country legitimately to contribute.

“Whether it is working, renting a flat, having a bank account or driving a car, the new Immigration Bill will help us to take tougher action than ever before on those who flout the law.”

In recent weeks ministers have faced criticism over the handling of the Calais crisis, while last month official figures showed net migration is at record levels, dealing a devastating blow to David Cameron’s aim to cut the index to five figures.

Other proposals in the bill include powers to close late-night takeaways and off-licences if they are caught employing workers with no legal right to be in the country and forcing banks to check current accounts against migrant databases.

An immigration removal centre has been ordered to make its menu more “culturally diverse” after figures showed detainees came from 82 different countries.

A report into conditions at the Verne Immigration Removal Centre (IRC) in Dorset said food was not “sufficiently culturally diverse” and criticised it for not having a “cultural kitchen” for inmates to cook their own food.

HM Chief Inspector of Prisons also said menus must be printed in a range of different languages.

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