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Immigrants to Catalonia required to learn Catalan

Source: El Pais - Wed 16th Mar 2011

The regional government of Catalonia intend to increase focus on immigrants' knowledge of the Catalan language in deciding if illegal incomers should be eligible for residence certificates.

The spokesman for the the CiU nationlist-coalition controlled regional government, said how knowledge of the Catalan regional language was a "very important requirement" for residency in the region.

He did not say how the government plans to test immigrants' knowledge of Catalan or what constitutes an acceptable level.

This news comes just a day after a survey by the CEO opinion poll organization revealed that almost 50% of the 1,600 Catalonia residents surveyed believe there are "too many" immigrants, while 25% are radically opposed to immigration.

"The study shows there is a hard core of about 25% of the population that could be categorized as culturally racist or clearly intolerant about immigration," CEO director Jordi Argelaguet said.

Under current regulations, the Catalan government may issue certificates to immigrants that verify they have acquired sufficient awareness of Catalan society. The non-binding certificate is normally issued after they receive courses organized by the regional government in which the Catalan language is currently only one element.

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