A HOME Office move to force foreign residents in Shetland and Orkney to travel to the mainland to complete language qualifications if they want to stay in Britain have been condemned by local SNP candidate Danus Skene.
Last week the UK government told the Scottish Qualifications Authority it could no longer award language certificates at its colleges, including those in the northern isles.
As a result, non-EU immigrants will have to travel to Edinburgh or Glasgow to have their English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) tests, which are necessary to obtain UK citizenship.
Skene accused Westminster of “sneaking out a discriminatory policy in the dying days of the coalition government that will cost people in Orkney and Shetland”.
The Home Office only told the SQA this week that it could no longer provide ESOL certificates after November 2015.
Instead the contract has gone to Trinity College London and Cambridge English language Assessment, whose only Scottish centres are in Glasgow and Edinburgh.
Skene said: “ESOL students based here will therefore have to take time off work, pay travel costs and possible overnight accommodation in Glasgow or Edinburgh.
“This is hugely unfair. Courses and tests cost much more at these other providers in addition to travel and accommodation costs.
“Places like the isles need immigrants to fill jobs which would otherwise be unfilled. There are not enough locals to meet the needs of fish factories and joinery firms, etc. Immigrants should be valued as they help the local economy to grow.”
Become a supporter of Shetland News
Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.
Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.
Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has over 420 supporters who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.
Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -
- Bring you the headlines as they happen;
- Stay editorially independent;
- Give a voice to the community;
- Grow site traffic further;
- Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.
If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.
Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.Support Shetland News