SOUTH Holland’s migrant workers could face losing benefits if they fail to learn English.
As part of welfare reforms currently being considered by Government, Prime Minister David Cameron has said foreign workers could be forced to take language classes equipping them to work, or risk losing out on money.
South Holland District Council portfolio holder for Localism and Big Society Nick Worth said being able to speak English would be a big benefit for migrant workers in the area.
“I think it’s very important because it helps them to integrate into the society and it’s important for them to be able to communicate effectively in the workplace.
“They need to be able to understand instructions from their manager, or as a manager they need to be able to communicate with their team.”
Mr Worth said migrants in South Holland are well catered for with a number of classes teaching conversational English.
Many of the area’s big employers also offer English classes for their foreign-speaking workers, tailored to their specific industry.
He said: “Classes are available if migrants wish to learn English and they are usually well attended. In my experience these people are usually keen to learn.”
The proposed welfare reforms will introduce stricter rules on people losing their benefits if they refuse a job.
Mr Cameron said: “We are getting rid of the idea that you can get your welfare without conditions being put on that.”
In future JobCentre staff will send people on specialist English language training courses if they feel migrants lack the correct skills for the local job market.
If they refuse to attend recommended courses they could have their benefits stopped.
Mr Cameron said: “So we are saying that if there’s something you need to help you get a job, for instance being able to speak English and learn English properly, it should be a requirement that you take that course, do that study in order for you to receive your benefits.”
Critics have claimed the proposals will harm vulnerable people and be undermined by the lack of available jobs.