HC Deb 18 July 2002 vol 389 cc547-8W
Mr. Wiggin

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will introduce a buddy system for immigrants similar to the one practised in Canada. [69006]

Beverley Hughes

The Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Bill presently before Parliament contains provision for language and citizenship education for people seeking naturalisation. A group of experts is to be formed to advise my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary, on how these proposals might be implemented in practice. Among other things, the group will be asked to advise on the practicality of a national voluntary scheme for mentors to assist naturalisation applicants in making contacts in their local community.

Membership of the advisory group will be announced shortly.

In addition, a European refugee fund grant has been secured in respect of a mentoring project for refugees in London, Birmingham and Glasgow. The project, "Time to Belong", is organised by TimeBank, a registered charity, arid aims to provide mentors and coaches for 150 refugees.