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UK Government to Scrap Earned Citizenship | Immigration Matters

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The UK Coalition Government announce major reforms on settlement visas for migrants including the abolition of Labour’s ‘Earned Citizenship’ programme.

The Home Secretary has outlined the government’s approach to reform of the settlement rules, including a decision not to pursue the ‘earned citizenship’ policy.

Earned citizenship concerned the path to settlement and British citizenship, and was planned to come into force in July 2011. It will now not be introduced.

Outlining the government’s approach to settlement reforms, the Home Secretary said:

‘It is too easy, at the moment, to move from temporary residence to permanent settlement.

‘We will not implement Labour’s policy of earned citizenship, which was too complicated, bureaucratic and, in the end, ineffective.

‘If people enter this country saying that they will only stay here temporarily, then it is obvious that they should only stay here temporarily.

‘Working in Britain for a short period should not give someone the right to settle in Britain. Studying a course in Britain should not give someone the right to settle in Britain.’

The Home Office announcement continued:

“We will make further announcements in due course. In the interim, the current rules and requirements for obtaining settlement and citizenship will remain in place.”

The new regime for settlement in the UK was due to come in to force next year and would have seen migrants wanting British nationality having to go through a “probationary” period.

The length of the probation would depend on whether they show willingness to participate in the country, including community activities such as volunteering, fund-raising or working as a school governor.

It would extend the current period before a migrant can apply from five years to at least six years and could be as long as eight.

But the programme, drawn up by the last Labour Government, has come under criticism because it would not stop petty criminal earning citizenship and activities such as standing on picket lines or political canvassing would count towards it.

The new Conservative led Coalition government has no secret of the fact that it plans to reduce net migration and cutting the numbers of people who settle here permanently is high on the agenda.

Evelie Padadac of Immigration Advisers Bison UK fears that thousands of work permit holding migrants may lose out on ILR, and those on ILR on Citizenship because they are unaware of the changes or can’t be bothered to apply. She said:

“The message is clear to those who could now qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain or ILR (permanent residency) or for British Citizenship – you’d better apply now while it’s on sale!”

If you are applying for naturalisation as a British citizen or for indefinite leave to remain (ILR), you need to show that you know about life in the UK.

If you live in the UK, you can do this in two ways: by taking the Life in the UK Test or by taking combined English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and citizenship classes.

The test is compulsory if you are applying for naturalisation as a British citizen or ILR (settlement) and your level of English is ESOL Entry 3 or above (or, in Scotland, Intermediate Level 1 or above). If your level of English is lower than ESOL Entry 3 (or lower than Intermediate Level 1 in Scotland) and you wish to apply for naturalisation or indefinite leave to remain, you will need to attend combined English language (ESOL) and citizenship classes instead. Local further education and ESOL accredited colleges run these courses.

See also:


Life in the UK Test – Journey to British Citizenship

Cap on immigration won’t cut numbers sufficiently say MP’s 

UK Immigration Cap may be relaxed 

Former Immigration Minister Woolas in disgrace

If you need any immigration advice or help with Sponsorship or Work Permits, Visa, ILR/Settlement, Citizenship, dependant visa or an appeal against a refusal please email: or visit

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