Welsh ‘should get same immigration points as English’ in system

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On Monday MPs voted for the UK government’s immigration bill at second reading.

It will do away with free movement for people from the EU and pave the way for a new points system.

In response the Home Office said that English is “the national language”.

The Welsh Language Commissioner, Aled Roberts, has also called on the Home Office to “acknowledge Welsh as an official language in Wales” as part of the new system.

A spokesperson at the Welsh Government said ministers are “concerned” by the proposals from the Home Office, “which do not make provision for other official UK languages, other than English”.

“Welsh holds the same legal status as English in Wales and should be treated no less favourably.

“We strongly believe that Welsh language skills should be awarded the same points as for English. The Minister for International Relations and Welsh Language will making these points to the Home Secretary.”

Welsh Language Commissioner Aled Roberts said he is “disappointed that the Home Office does not acknowledge Welsh as an official language in Wales, and refers to English as the only ‘national language'”.

The plans for the new points-based immigration system would award 10 points for an ability to speak English “at a required level”, as well as points for having an annual income of at least £23,040 a year, having a job offer in place from an approved sponsor, if there are shortages in the proposed area of employment, and a high level of education in a relevant field.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “We are delivering a news points-based immigration system that works in the interests of all of the United Kingdom.

“As the national language, being able to speak English will help people live and integrate effectively wherever they choose to settle in the UK.”

The Welsh Language Commissioner, Aled Roberts, said he will be writing again to the Home Office “to request a response to their initial letter, and an explanation of the situation.”

2 thoughts on “Welsh ‘should get same immigration points as English’ in system

  1. I think I read somewhere where the Welsh TV channel S4C gets a £90 Million subsidy from the welsh taxpayer. If you add in the subsidies for Welsh only radio, the money spent in translations of publications, emails etc and the myraid of inordinate talking translation services, the money being spent by the Labour Welsh language zealots on the welsh language is overwhelming. This is of course at a detrimental cost to health, education and many other needy services.

    If you watch S4C for 15 minutes this is considered a viewing, but its interesting that with the rugby etc they now offer an english translation service to the commentary. The channel would not survive without the subsidy – but recently I see them with glossy marketing exclaiming how they add so much to the economy of wales – its jobs for people who speak welsh, as in councils and govt positions – the welsh language zealots have it under control forcing the 85% of welsh people who don’t speak welsh to front up with the zealotry costs.

    I feel that Aled Roberts does not quite understand that in the world today, the overwhelming number of people that are learning to speak English – because of course it is the commercial language of the world. I am amazed that when I go to Europe, my colleagues there all speak almost perfect english as a second language, because for them to succeed these days in international relations and business English is a must. In japan these days many companies wont take on staff who dont speak english – its a world wide phenomenon.

    But for around 85% of the welsh populace they just don’t speak welsh. Recent ONS figures would have you believe that around 1/3rd of the welsh population is speaking/writing welsh, but when you dig into the stats you find interesting information.

    In 2011, calls made to the Census helpline were bilingual with the Welsh language option offered first. Every incentive was offered to encourage those able to do so to complete their online or paper form in Welsh, yet despite this just 3.4% of family forms online were completed in Welsh, and just 2.9% of individual forms. Paper copies fared little better for households at 4.1%… overall, just 5.05% of forms were returned in Welsh.

    The language preference becomes even more stark when we look at other services. Just 0.08% of driving theory tests were taken in Welsh and just 0.45% of practicals. As for NHS Direct, just 0.6% of phone calls and 0.1% of website visits were conducted in Welsh.

    Last November, there was a Welsh language option when accessing the online support videos for Transport for Wales travel card applications. Both the English and Welsh versions were uploaded on 16 October and by the 15th of november 12,807 had watched the English language video, while just 247 had watched the Welsh language equivalent. In other words, just 1.89% of viewers had chosen to watch the Welsh language version.

    Transport for Wales and its subsidised travel passes are a matter for people from all across Wales, so there can be no accusations of a Cardiff/urban/South Wales bias. This clearly shows that when people are left to their own devices to access a service from their own homes, they overwhelmingly choose the English language version.

    Language is used predominantly for communication, not for ‘feel good’ reasons. Welsh people are no exception. We use the language we regard as most useful. When not obliged to use Welsh by government subsidy or regulation, the people of Wales overwhelmingly choose to use English.

  2. I have English friends and others who live in Canada, USA, and Mexico, having taught abroad with them in the past. They are liberal and exhibit the best traits of humankind. They, like many others, would support the preservation and expansion of ancient languages under threat of extinction. I share this same view, especially with languages like Catalan and Basque. Instinctively they would support the Welsh language lobby seeing it typically as the underdogs battling the establishment and forces of oppression. Statements like that of Aled Roberts would soon change their perspective. I think such crass comments, along with the rabid abuse dished out by the Welsh Taliban should be collected and stored and used as evidence against them to unmask their true nature. I’m sure my friends wouldn’t recognise their description of me as an anti-Welsh fascist bigot, and that’s the politer ones.

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