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Monday 28 January 2013

UK citizenship test to get tougher

UK citizenship test to get tougher

London: Who is William Shakespeare, Isaac Newton? Who are the Beatles? If you don't know the answers, you may not get a British citizenship.

Immigrants who wish to settle in the UK will now have to learn key facts about British history to pass the citizenship test.

The 'Life in the United Kingdom' test, introduced under the previous Labour government, has been re-designed to make knowledge about historical and cultural facts about the country a requirement.

A new handbook issued for applicants preparing for such tests, Life in the United Kingdom: A guide for New Residents, will be published tomorrow to focus on the "events and people who have contributed to making Britain great".

The new edition, issued by the Conservative-led coalition, highlights the achievements of former Tory prime ministers such Margaret Thatcher and Winston Churchill.

While the previous version described Thatcher as a "divisive figure" whose policies caused "a massive decline in industry", the rewrite sees the former PM praised as an economic reformer.

William Shakespeare, the Beatles, Isaac Newton and Olympic athlete Jessica Ennis all feature as in eth book in order to test migrants' "understanding of how modern Britain has evolved."

From March this year, applicants for British citizenship will be expected to answer 75 per cent of the 24 questions in the 45-minute test correctly, based on material in the new guide.

"The new book rightly focuses on values and principles at the heart of being British. Instead of telling people how to claim benefits, it encourages participation in British life," said immigration minister Mark Harper.

"This is just part of our work to help ensure migrants are ready and able to integrate into British society, and forms part of our changes which have broken the automatic link between temporary and permanent migration," he added.

More than 150,000 'Life in the UK tests' were taken in Britain last year, including 77,000 in London alone.

They are now a requirement for the right to apply for "permanent leave to remain" after five years of living and working in the UK.

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