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Language games

The government talks about integration but is denying migrants free English lessons

By Bernard Crick   July 2006

In an overloaded institution like the home office, good initiatives sometimes get forgotten. I was reminded of this when the story broke recently that five illegal immigrants were working for the immigration and nationality directorate. A year or two ago I often worked late in the home office in Whitehall before catching the sleeper back to Edinburgh. As I am a friendly sort of fellow, I would try to chat to the cleaners. But none of them could speak English. (They were, however, almost certainly legal. Back then, before citizens of the new EU states were free to work here,…

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