Language Learning at UK Department of Higher Employment and Learning
English classes will now be offered free of charge to all refugees in Northern Ireland. The classes will be provided at further education colleges, but would not apply to economic migrants. Asylum seekers are defined as those who have made an application to the UK Border Agency for refugee status. Syrian refugees are defined as those who have been accepted under the government’s VPRS (Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme) and have been granted five years’ Humanitarian Protection status. Asylum seekers are eligible to access ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) provision, and other further education courses, as soon as they have made an application for refugee status. The six month waiting period has been removed. Syrian refugees who have been resettled in Northern Ireland under the government’s VPRS are also eligible to immediate access to ESOL and other further education courses.