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Migrants in the UK from eastern Europe have high levels of English proficiency

Two-thirds of Romanian migrants speak English well or very well, according to data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS). Similarly, migrants from Hungary, Poland, Lithuania and Bulgaria had high levels of English proficiency.

Other residents from countries outside of Eastern Europe with high levels of proficiency include those from Nepal, Venezuela and Mexico.

The 2021 census also shows higher levels of English proficiency amongst residents who arrived in the UK earlier. Of respondents who arrived before 1971, 84% said they spoke English as their main language, compared to just 37% of those who arrived between 2011 and 2021.

When comparing the top 10 countries of birth outside the UK, those from Bangladesh had the lowest English proficiency, with only 38% speaking it as their main language, and 25% saying they could not speak it well or at all.

‘Most non-UK-born usual residents had high levels of English proficiency,’ says ONS. ‘87% of recent arrivals between 2011 and 2021 reported speaking English very well or well, or had it as a main language.’

Image courtesy of Christian Lue
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