UK-based Nigerian Community Association Bradford (NCAB) has called on the UK to exempt Nigerians from International English Language Testing System (IELTS).
The President of the association, Mr Adewale Bakare, made the call in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Abuja.
The association is based in Bradford, a municipal metropolitan Borough, West Yorkshire, England.
Bakare, who made the call during the association’s Nigeria Community Immigration Conference in Bradford recently, appealed to the Nigerian High Commission (NHC) in the UK to intervene so Nigerian citizens could be exempted.
He urged the British government to do away with the requirement of passing English language for doctors, nurses and other migrants who want to enter UK.
“Nigeria being a Commonwealth country where English language is widely spoken as lingua franca, we strongly believe should be exempted from the English language test requirements.
“We hereby make representation to the Nigerian High Commissioner, on behalf of many Nigerians living in the UK and pray you to apply to the UK Immigration Authority for the exemption of English language requirements accordingly.
“The association prayed the High Commission to closely look into ways the British government would assist affected Nigerian immigrants,’’ he said.
On the payment of £2,000 by the Home Office, Bakare: “it is possibly one of the most generous Administrative Voluntary Return (AVR) packages in Europe.’’
He, however, said the amount was not enough to reintegrate migrants in their countries of origin.
“Rather than paying returnees directly in cash, funds should be put for business start-ups or services for them, including vocational training that will help to start a small business or to purchase of tools and equipment.
“This is where the Nigerian High Commissioner can assist the community to negotiate with the Home Office for a better deal, “ he said.
He said that reintegration was a critical step toward achieving sustainable return.
According to him, to prevent further irregular migration, it is particularly important to address the factors that led migrants to leave their countries of origin in the first place, which majorly are on economic factors.
Bakare said skills and access to a regular source of income was crucial to people’s ability to support returnees independently, adding that reintegration support ought to reflect the importance of social reintegration.
“For example, solid social support structures are essential for effective reintegration and provide a safety net beyond work.
“The NHC should take this into account when negotiating better deal for unavoidable deportees with the Home Office.
“It is important to note that even the most generous AVR packages cannot always help returnees to overcome systemic challenges back home.
“Such as there being few jobs in their local area, a limited market for their start-up businesses, or prohibitively high school fees to educate their children,’’ he said.
He said that unless socioeconomic conditions improved in countries of origin some people would seek out a better life in another country.
The association suggested the message should to be passed across to the authorities back home, adding that there was need for more publicity about the availability of voluntary returns.
“It seems many Nigerians are still not aware of what is called `Voluntary Returns`, especially those immigrants living hopelessly in the UK,’’ he said.(NAN)