Migrants who wish to settle in Britain will face a “Britishness” test to prove their knowledge of British history and customs.
Since 2 April 2007 anyone applying for ‘Indefinite Leave to Remain’ or permanent residency must pass a test to demonstrate their knowledge of the UK and the English language.
The 45-minute test includes questions on subjects ranging from Queen Elizabeth II and regional dialects to customs, British facts and figures and the workings of government.
The test has been a requirement for people applying for British Citizenship since November 2005, and has been taken by more than 200,000 migrants keen to become British citizens.
The government says the test will help migrants integrate into British society, but newspapers have criticised it, pointing out that many people born and bred in Britain would have difficulty answering many of the little-known historical and cultural questions.
Called “Life in the UK”, its 24 questions cover history, politics, customs, and citizens’ rights. Examinees could face questions as simple as ‘when was Queen Elizabeth II crowned’, to tricky teasers such as ‘how many members does the Scottish parliament have?’
Immigration minister Liam Byrne said the test was needed.
“It is essential that migrants wishing to live in the UK permanently recognize that there are responsibilities that go with this,” Mr Byrne said.
“Having a good grasp of English is essential in order for them to play a full role in society and properly integrate into our communities.”
He added that the test would also help weed out immigrants who could encourage the spread of terrorism in the UK.
The information you will need is contained in the ‘Life in the UK’ handbook. A revised handbook was due to be published in 2007, so you will need to check which handbook your test will cover. The handbook is available from, The Stationery Office, as well as many bookshops, and is priced at £9.99.
The test itself will cost you £34 every time you need to take it. You will need to book the test in one of the 100 or so Life in the UK test centres. It is computer based, so people who are not computer literate will be encouraged to get some training or practice at www.lifeintheuktest.gov.uk.
If you should have any questions on working or studying in the UK email Charles Kelly firstname.lastname@example.org.