The government will launch proposals this week for a new points system for immigrants seeking British citizenship, it a bid to deflect accusations that it has lost control of the country’s borders, according to a report in the Guardian.
Home Secretary Alan Johnson, will launch the consultation paper, which proposes that those wanting a passport could earn points for speaking English and doing community work, and lose points for anti-social behaviour, such as protesting against British troops.
Under the new proposals, immigrants will have to wait as long as ten years before being granted a UK passport, compared to five years under the current system.
In an article in Sunday’s News of the World, Johnson wrote:
“Already we require people earn the right to become citizens by paying taxes, speaking English and obeying the law … I will go even further, unveiling my new citizenship proposals which will require people earn points for, among other things, their skills, their job and their qualifications.
“Bad behaviour will be penalised, and only those with enough points will earn the right to a British passport. No longer will there be an automatic link between temporary work and becoming a permanent UK citizen.”
The Home Secretary predicted a short-term fall in migrant numbers from outside Europe due to the government’s clampdown and because the recession makes Britain a less attractive place to live.
Migrants from outside the EU are already subject to a points-based system, introduced last year, which allows entry into the UK only if they have skills needed by the British economy.
A Home Office spokesperson said:
“The points-based system has already proved to be a powerful tool for controlling migration for the benefit of both British people and the economy. We have already announced our intention to consult on applying these principles to the path to citizenship.”
The Tory immigration spokesman, Damian Green, accused the government of “spin”:
“There never has been an automatic right to British citizenship. It is simply that this government has let an unprecedented number of people obtain citizenship, issuing someone with a British passport every five minutes. This is an act of desperation by a Government that … has let immigration run out of control.”
Source The Guardian
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