Tougher immigration stance
These were just some of the important details included in the Deputy Prime Minister’s immigration speech in London this week. It was a speech that indicated the tougher stance of the Liberal Democrats, which Mr. Clegg heads, on immigration. He firmly insisted that receiving any identity document in the United Kingdom is a “rite of passage,” thus anyone who wish to live in Britain should be able to speak English.
The Deputy Prime Minister added that English is the common language that binds the (British) society and the ability to communicate (in the language) is essential to allow the communities to integrate and to make sure that each person living in Britain has a voice. Mr. Clegg said changes are already in place. All students must learn English and there will be tougher language tests for visa applicants.
During his speech he mentioned that he has already ordered the Passport Office and the
DVLA to stop the free translation services for driving license and passport applicants who do not speak English. He said obtaining these two documents is a privilege and a right, and that a person gaining the right should be able to speak the country’s language to an “appropriate standard.” Therefore, he said, other people, meaning the British taxpayers, should not be paying for an interpreter or a translation service provider so that the applicants can gain that right.
Mr. Clegg also mentioned that it would be better if these offices try to help these non-English speaking applicants to enroll in an English language course.
New immigration system
In his speech, Mr. Clegg outlined the Liberal Democrats’ vision for a new immigration system that will have “border checks” and “proper controls without loopholes.” He even made a dig at his Tory coalition partners, saying the government should not focus on net immigration figures but rather on the details of an immigration system that will actually work. He said that the government is now creating an immigration system that has an open heart and generous spirit but one that will not tolerate abuse. He announced the four-pronged plan of action to tackle the problems with the immigrations system, such as attracting bright students from different parts of the world, English speaking, European migration and actions against illegal migration, things Mr. Clegg said could be done, but will take some work.
On the other hand, Grant Shapps, Tory party chairman said that the government still intended to reduce migration each year and labeled Mr. Clegg a hypocrite.