Belfast Telegraph

Refugees offered free classes in English

By Lesley-Anne McKeown

Refugees living in Northern Ireland are being offered free English lessons to help them settle into society.

Classes will be offered in further education colleges across the region, according to Employment and Learning Minister Stephen Farry.

He said: "The measures I have announced today ensure that no one who comes to Northern Ireland seeking refuge from persecution or war is disadvantaged simply because of their immigration status."

The first group of refugees from war-torn Syria arrived in December.

The 51 people, many of them children, had been staying in makeshift camps in Lebanon and were moved to Northern Ireland as part of a UK-wide relocation scheme.

Up to 100 displaced people are expected. Asylum seekers and those granted humanitarian protection can already avail of free English classes but the policy does not apply to economic migrants.

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