Charities recruiting migrants as volunteers might gain access to European funding

Scheme is mentioned in context of new law allowing fast-track citizenship for immigrants who volunteer

Charities that take on migrants as volunteers could have access to money from the EU if they find matching funding.

Chris Hedges, a civil servant at the UK Border Agency, told a meeting of the England Volunteering Development Council this week that the Government would be able to allocate money from the European Integration Fund, to organisations creating volunteering opportunities for migrants.

He said the fund was worth £7.5m, but money from it could be given out only if organisations found matching funding from elsewhere.

A spokesman for the UK Border Agency, which administers the fund, said there was no minimum amount a charity could apply for. However, the bidding process was time-consuming so organisations would not find it feasible to draw up bids for small sums.

The Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act, which was passed in July last year, allows immigrants who have been in the UK for five years to gain citizenship within one further year, rather than three, if they can prove they have been an "active citizen" by volunteering.

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