Chapter 20Language, mobility and inclusion
The most significant way in which states regulate mobility is through laws and policies on immigration and naturalisation. Increasingly, states are requiring that migrants demonstrate specified levels of competence in the official language at various points in the immigration process. Frequently, such requirements can pose a barrier to many migrants, and may have a negative impact that affects members of certain groups disproportionately. States justify such language requirements on the basis that fluency in the official language promotes greater inclusion, and enhances life chances of migrants in the new country. However, by frequently failing to provide any form of mother tongue education for children of migrants, states themselves frustrate the achievement of such levels of fluency. Inclusion is also facilitated by ensuring that migrant have effective access to crucial public services such as health care, social services, and so forth. However, for many migrants, language is a barrier to accessing such services as effectively as other members of society. In most of these areas, international obligations do not provide sufficient responses, although important principles in international human rights law, particularly the principle of non-discrimination and equal protection of the law, and the principle of proportionality, may provide a more adequate response.
- 2.Connecting legal perspectives with the MIME framework
- 3.Key concepts and tools
- 4.Language, mobility and inclusion: Identifying the legal gaps