If there’s one thing that will seriously stop the integration of migrants it’s a language barrier. Not only will it isolate a family or individual but will seriously hamper things like employment and education. All of these are essential for a migrant to start to become a valuable member of a community.
Imagine the difficulties, arriving in a new country where the culture, the weather and environment are all completely different. On top of that you can’t understand most people, you don’t understand forms, road signs or even the television it can be very stressful. Most of us only experience this sort of feeling when on holiday, but can you imagine having to provide for your family or do the day to day administration in a language you don’t understand.
Unfortunately there are many migrants to the US who when they arrive struggle with basic literacy in the English Language. Society as whole is wise when it offers classes and resources to help immigrants master the intricacies of our language. Of course many will have some knowledge of English, often gleaned from the internet after all you can even watch the BBC using a VPN from anywhere.
It’s worthwhile investing early on in language education as it can mitigate many costs that can be incurred later on. If migrants learn the language, it becomes easier for them to access education, healthcare and the legal system. It also will save the state money in providing translation and linguistic services on an ongoing basis. It is not surprising that many countries insist on their language being learnt as a prerequisite of residency. For example in Germany the thousands of migrants seeking refuge from Syria are all expected to learnt the German language in return.
Residents of our country become net contributors to our economy as their English approves. With English skills comes the ability go get better jobs and thus pay more taxes. Also they start to gain access to the credit market, making them stronger consumers and drivers of Economic growth.
As education, English skills, and experience improve, many enterprising immigrants start new businesses. These businesses in turn can increase employment levels among new immigrants and citizens alike as they expand and create more jobs!
Other benefits to English literacy is that immigrants with this skill can access the English language internet, rather than relying on the small portions of the internet written in their native tongue. It can allow access to lots more information from the BBC News to educational resources which are more often free online than they are in other languages.
There’s no doubt that encouraging new migrants to learn the language has many benefits for all concerned. Integration avoids many of the pitfalls of creating isolated and often economically disadvantaged societies where people group together.