The Home Office will introduce a Language and British Test for migrants planning to settle in the UK from 2nd April 2007.
The new rule requires applicants for ‘indefinite leave to remain’ to prove they have sufficient knowledge of English language and ‘life in the UK’ to qualify for settlement.
The clampdown is the latest in a series of measures by hardline Home Secretary John Reid to tighten up immigration rules at the Home Office. Earlier this year the length of time required to qualify for settlement was increased from four to five years.
The widely anticipated new tests fall in line with tests for British nationality. The ‘British Citizenship Test’, introduced in November 2005, has been taken by 134,000 people, with a pass rate of 68 per cent.
Dr Reid said the tests would help immigrants get jobs and fit in with their local communities:
“It is essential that migrants wishing to live in the UK permanently recognise that there are responsibilities that go with this and 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.”
Would you pass the Test?
Just for fun try these sample questions:
- When did women get the right to vote?
- Who ceremonially appoints a new Archbishop of Canterbury?
- What does Boxing Day celebrate?
(Answers: 1. 1918 2. The King or Queen 3. The appreciation of work by servants and trades people)
In 2005, around 170,000 people applied for settlement, allowing them to remain in the UK indefinitely without the need to renew their visa. They can go on to apply for British citizenship after a further year in the UK.
If you should have any questions, views or need help, please email Charles Kelly