Deaf News: Government clarifies that sign language users will not be affected by the Immigration Bill

Posted on February 23, 2016

The government has responded to representations from Signature and Sense to clarify that sign language users will not be prevented from working in customer facing roles by the new Immigration Bill.

The Bill proposes to make it a requirement that people working in public service customer facing roles be fluent in English or Welsh. Following representations from Signature and Sense, the government response to the consultation on the Bill says:

“The Government recognises the duty of public authorities to provide reasonable adjustments for staff who are disabled under the terms of the Equality Act 2010. The Code will make clear that people whose first or only language is a signed language are not prevented by the public authorities implementation of the duty from working in customer-facing roles. It will also make clear that the duty can be met by the provision of a suitable sign language interpreter for workers whose first language is a signed language.”

Jim Edwards, chief executive of Signature, said: “We welcome the government’s clarification that the language fluency requirements of the Immigration Bill will not discriminate against Deaf people.

“We will continue to work with the Cabinet Office to make sure the Code of Practice also protects public workers and members of the public by requiring public authorities to only engage sign language interpreters who are registered with NRCPD. Registration guarantees an interpreter is qualified, keeps their skills up-to-date, and is subject to a Code of Conduct and complaints process.”

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Posted in: deaf news