Support for Hong Kong nationals

Hong Kong nationals making a new life in Salford are to be offered English language tuition to help them find jobs more easily.

Councillor Jack Youd, lead member for finance said the support will be paid for from an extension to the government’s Welcome Programme set up in 2021 when it offered Hong Kong British Overseas nationals the right to live and work in the UK after China passed new national security laws.

The government said the offer reflected the UK’s historic and moral commitment to those who chose to retain ties to the UK by taking up British National (Overseas) status when Hong Kong was handed back to China in 1997.

“Learning or improving language skills is crucial to finding jobs and managing everyday life. Since 2021 the council and its partners have provided this support to 559 people from Hong Kong, putting us amongst the top three councils in England for support to HK nationals. I’m pleased the government has now recognised that demand nationally is growing and has offered further funding through the Welcome Programme,” said Councillor Youd.

“As part of Salford’s social value benefits, our English language contractors have and will continue to offer professional development opportunities and training for front line staff, placements for trainee tutors and support for volunteers from local businesses to run conversation clubs and one to one tuition. We will also offer workshops on recycling and working in the growing environment sector for learners.”

Earlier this year Salford was recognised as a City of Sanctuary, run by a national charity to create a country-wide network of support for those seeking sanctuary in the UK.

The move was proposed by Councillor Wilson Nkurunziza who fled civil war in his native Burundi in 2002 after members of his family were killed or disappeared in the conflict. He arrived in the UK unable to speak English but has since completed degrees in business studies and social work and organised community events as well as serving as a local councillor.

“I know from my own experience how important it is not only to get help with learning English but also to be met with care, support and respect when you have left your homeland, often under appalling circumstances. That’s why I proposed Salford officially becoming a City of Sanctuary to recognise that we embrace everyone and recognise the contribution of people of all backgrounds to making Salford such an amazing place," he said.

Salford is home to the Northwest Refugees Centre Healthcare Professional Education (REACHE) which has helped over 200 people, mainly doctors, to gain employment in the NHS and two secondary and seven primary ‘sanctuary’ schools The University of Salford provides scholarships to asylum seekers who cannot access student finance and are therefore excluded from higher education.

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Date published
Tuesday 23 May 2023

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