UK Chagossians asked for views on Support Package
The UK government is asking Chagossians living in the UK for their views on two proposed uses of the £40m Support Package promised to Chagossians in 2016.
The Support Package, which had the stated aim of "addressing the most pressing needs of the community" was announced in November 2016, as the UK government confirmed they would not support a Chagossian return programme or restore Chagossians right to live in their homeland.
Below are the two Foreign Office proposals on how to spent the £40m Support Package. These measures will only be available to Chagossians living in the UK. Other proposals are expected to be shared with Chagossians living elsewhere.
If you are a Chagossian living in the UK and have any comment on these, please email BIOTFCO@fco.gov.uk
Two UK government proposals for use of Chagossian Support Package funds in UK
- English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) courses in Crawley. The courses will focus on reading, writing, speaking and listening in English. Different levels of courses will be available depending on the learning needs of the individual: if eligibility criteria is met participants will be invited by the ESOL provider to attend an initial assessment to ensure learners are allocated to a class which supports their learning needs. The courses will last approximately 12 months and will be available in the daytime and evening (to allow those already in employment to participate). In most cases learners will be able to take a nationally recognised qualification that outlines the level of English ability attained.
- UK NARIC – Statement of Comparability. UK NARIC is the designated United Kingdom national agency for the recognition and comparison of international qualifications and skills. It performs this official function on behalf of the UK Government. A service UK NARIC offers is to show how your internationally attained qualifications compare to UK qualifications and the UK education system, if appropriate issuing a “Statement of Comparability” that illustrates this comparison – here is an example of a Statement of Comparability. The Statement of Comparability can be used to clarify to potential future employers the level of your qualifications in UK terms.
In the three years since the package was announced only 318,000 of the pledged £40m has been spent. Almost all of this has been spent on trips back to the Chagos Islands, which had been happening for several years before the package was announced.
Several Chagossian community groups have announced they will not engage with the package on principle, while others have expressed frustration at the lack of progress, clarity and communication.