Requirement for public sector workers to speak ‘fluent English’

The Immigration Bill, which was published on 17th September 2015, introduced a new legal requirement for all public sector employees who work in a public-facing role to speak ‘fluent English’. This will include social workers, police officers, teaching staff and assistants, Jobcentre Plus workers and local government employees.

The recent requirement will apply to both new and existing public sector employees that will have to demonstrate a minimum command of English at GSCE grade “C” or above (or equivalent). A higher level of competence may be necessary depending on the nature of the role being carried out and the profession of the employee. For example, doctors are already required to have a much higher level of English.

The ‘fluent English’ requirement will also form part of a code of practice covering all public sector workers in customer facing positions, which is expected to come into force within the next few months.