Impacts

Language requirements and migration

Language matters in migration choices: in a survey undertaken for the REMINDER project, the most common top answer for the ‘most important reasons for choosing the country of destination’ was that the county offered a particular university degree. But most student migrants also said their decisions were affected by whether they could study in a language they already knew at an advanced level.

The ability to speak the language can also make a significant difference in access to the labour market. Indeed, some respondents discussed migrating with the purpose of learning or improving their knowledge of the language of the host country, so as to gain better access to the labour market. Those who have been taught certain languages at school are more likely to head to places where that language is spoken — so school language classes can shape life decisions made many years later.

What does that look like in practice?