Presentation on theme: "Language requirements for adult migrants Results of a survey Some observations and reflections Linguistic integration of adult migrants Council of Europe."— Presentation transcript:
Language requirements for adult migrants Results of a survey Some observations and reflections Linguistic integration of adult migrants Council of Europe 06- 26/27-2008 L'intégration linguistique des migrants adultes Conseil de l'Europe 26/27- 06-2008 Piet Van Avermaet
On the basis of different surveys over time, it cannot be denied that a proliferation of integration tests and courses are spreading across Europe through policy emulation (see also Foblets, Himmet, Wets & Yanasmayan, 2008) Based on a first ALTE survey in 2002 only 4 of 14 countries that were included (29%), had language tests for citizenship From a second 2007 ALTE already 11 out of 18 countries – i.e. 61% - had language requirements as part of an integration policy This 2008 survey reveals that in already 73% of the countries involved language proficiency is part of integration regulations. In 62% of the countries language is a condition to obtain permanent residency, family reunion or citizenship Stricter language requirements across Europe 1/2
Some countries, who for the time being do not have language requirements for integration and citizenship are in a process of revising their policy into the direction of setting language requirements Integration policies in most countries are in a continuous process of change. Some of the presented data (gathered in January 2008) may already be outdated. Stricter language requirements across Europe 2/2
For European countries who have to deal with immigration, language policies are seen as: a possible response to changing migration patterns and tendencies a possible response to increase and improve processes of social integration of ‘ oldcomers ’ on the basis of a perceived inclusion deficit a possible solution to control new migration flows As a consequence introduction of: language as a requirement or condition for inclusion civic knowledge as a requirement or condition for inclusion We observe different historical inclusion models whose impact on language policies, as part of integration policies is to be noted. General interpretation framework
Some observations 1/2 More and more countries stricter language requirements and tests with sanctions. Often a condition to get a residence permit, family reunion or citizenship; Policies are often from recent date; Variation across countries; Number of KOS tests is limited, but higher for citizenship; In almost half of the countries test is to be paid for and a large range in prices can be observed (up to 140€); A reasonable number of countries have language regulations but do not invest in official language courses; Initiative lies often with immigrant; often private market with high cost (up to 900€); Although specific language needs of migrants are acknowledged, many countries do not offer tailor made courses;
Some observations 2/2 Some countries are very supportive, tuition offered, no testing, often free cost; Linguistic integration concerns mainly Western European countries with a longer tradition of immigration; Eastern European countries often do not have language requirements for the integration of immigrants but do have language requirements (often with language test) for citizenship; New immigration countries often have high % of immigrants and no policy for social inclusion yet; Large variation in required level of language proficiency for tuition as well as for testing: ranges from A1.1 to B2; In most cases CEFR-levels used to determine level of required language proficiency; Many countries that not yet have language conditions for integration and citizenship, are planning it and have their policies under revision.
In times of economical, political and cultural globalisation, there is always a tendency to strengthen, revalue national, regional and local norms, values and language. This is a normal reaction, and as such there is nothing wrong with it However, issues like migration, mobility and integration are problems that go beyond national or regional borders Economical and cultural developments are not restricted to national or regional borders We must realise that strengthening national or regional identities never have and never will stop economic and cultural developments. Some general reflections 1/5
In Europe currently different dynamics can be observed: National policies and regulations with requirements in the national language; Processes of unification and freedom of mobility for EU citizens; Processes of regionalisation and increasing co operation between political and economical strong localities with shared interests across national borders and languages It will be interesting to observe how these dynamics will evolve One could consider, when developing national integration policies with a strong focus on language and norms and values of the nation (identity) to reflect on these dynamics. Interaction between the different levels of policy making is highly recommended. Some general reflections 2/5
In many countries the level of language proficiency required is rather low. This is ethically justifiable. But how will this be perceived by majority group? In some countries the policy is of a facilitating nature, while in others it is more conditional and of an obligatory nature From research we know that a facilitating policy that first aims at the integration of immigrants in certain societal domains (e.g. work) will lead to the acquisition of the host country language. People acquire the language when there is a need. In a conditional policy one runs the risk that immigrants cannot be active in societal domains where language acquisition tends to be a natural process through contact. We run the risk that structural discrimination of minority groups we want to counteract, on the contrary will be reinforced. In a policy of a conditional nature: More uniform courses and tests (format and content) Universal and fixed level of language proficiency Danger of gate keeping and excluding people In a policy of a facilitating nature: More flexible, more needs related and tailor made courses and tests (format and content) Level of proficiency can vary according of needs of immigrants and linguistic requirements in specific societal domains in which immigrant want to function. More encouraging than discouraging Some general reflections 3/5
Societal impact of integration policies with a strong focus on language requirements may not be ignored: positive and negative. Little is know. Examples of negative societal impact of conditional policies on local policies As policies like these might have great impact on societies and on peoples personal lives, quality is a key issue: What is the rationale for language requirements, conditions, language tests, level of proficiency required We have to be able to build an argument on which decisions and choices can be made Quality of tuition Provision of language courses Quality, fairness and impact of tests Awareness of how languages are acquired: functionality, context, needs Some general reflections 4/5
Research on the impact of policies is highly needed. Much money is invested in current integration policies: To what extent do immigrants benefit in the long term? What is the effect on local policies? What is the impact on perceptions of the majority group? Do these policies meet the goals set: improve social inclusion, more multicultural social networks, less discrimination, more chances to get a job, … ? … ? Finally, every integration policy should take into account the human rights dimension. Some general reflections 5/5
THANK YOU MERCI Linguistic integration of adult migrants Council of Europe 06- 26/27-2008 L'intégration linguistique des migrants adultes Conseil de l'Europe 26/27- 06-2008 Piet Van Avermaet
Your consent to our cookies if you continue to use this website.