Theresa May ‘planning changes to immigrant test’

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Home Secretary Theresa May is reported to be planning changes to the test taken by foreign nationals who wish to become British citizens.

The Life in the United Kingdom test was introduced by Labour in 2005.

The Sunday Times says immigrants will be told “historically the UK is a Christian country”.

The revised version will focus less on the practicalities of daily living in Britain and require more knowledge of British history and achievements.

Inventions and discoveries
The paper says immigrants will also have to learn the first verse of the national anthem before they can become UK citizens.

Mrs May is understood to have scrapped sections of the test which dealt with claiming benefits and the Human Rights Act.

Instead potential immigrants will be expected to learn about Byron, the Duke of Wellington, Shakespeare and other historical and cultural figures.

The new handbook, expected to be issued in the autumn, will include sections about key battles, such as Trafalgar, and British inventions and discoveries.

A Home Office spokesperson told the BBC: “Putting our culture and history at the heart of the citizenship test will help ensure those permanently settling can understand British life allowing them to properly integrate into our society.”

Alp Mehmet, vice chairman of the Migration Watch think tank, said it was the right change of emphasis.

“It will be looking at people for what they can contribute and give an idea of the country they are coming to, be it our history, culture or ways. It is right they should have an idea of that rather than something that encourages them to see what they can get out of the country,” he said.

The handbook, currently in draft form, is the basis of a 45-minute test which potential citizens can take at one of 90 centres around the UK.

BBC © 2012

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