Will it be harder to obtain British Citizenship?
Proposed reforms to obtaining British Citizenship
Will it be harder to obtain British Citizenship? Recently, proposed changes to the current process of citizenship have arisen that aim to integrate prospective citizens into British society in a more efficient way.
Naturalisation is the process by which a non-UK citizen can acquire British citizenship. Depending on an individual’s circumstances, there are different ways to apply for British citizenship through naturalisation, including naturalisation as an EEA national.
What is the current system?
Currently, the Life in the UK Test consists of 24 questions about British history, traditions, customs and everyday life. The questions are based on the official Life in the UK handbook, which aims to help individuals understand what it means to be a British citizen. Applicants must score 75% or more to pass the test.
On the other hand, there are several different ways to satisfy the current English requirement test. These include having an acceptable English language qualification, obtaining an academic qualification taught in English. Alternatively, by being a national of a majority English speaking country, an individual will not need to provide any proof of their knowledge of English.
So what are the proposed reforms to obtain British Citizenship?
The Home Secretary Sajid Javid has announced plans for a series of reforms to obtaining British citizenship. The plans include proposals to reform the Life in the UK Test by replacing it with a ‘British values’ test. The introduction of a ‘British values’ test aims to give greater significance to daily life and culture in the UK, as well as the liberal, democratic values and principles that bind the British society together. It is currently unclear what constitutes ‘British values’, but a public consultation will be brought forward on the Life in the UK Test and the accompanying Life in the UK handbook.
The proposed reforms also include strengthening the English language requirement for British citizenship. However, the enhanced level of English language proficiency that individuals are expected to demonstrate has not yet been clarified.
Why were these reforms proposed?
The Home Secretary has stated that the UK welcomes newcomers, but in turn, they are expected to live by ‘British values’. He believes that the existing Life in the UK Test is insufficient as it focuses more on questions about British history rather than the contemporary values cherished by the British people. He specifies that it is more important for new citizens to understand the values that bind the British society together in order to integrate into the wider community.
Additionally, the Home Secretary has claimed he is determined to break down the current barriers to integration, starting with language. Regarding the English language, he has implicitly stated that it would be difficult for the British society and new citizens to make a common home together if they cannot communicate with each other.
How can we help?
As specialists in individual immigration, we can advise you on how to obtain British citizenship by applying for naturalisation and all other aspects relating to UK immigration.
If you have any questions about anything mentioned in this article or have specific queries about your immigration matter, please do not hesitate to get in touch for a free 15-minute telephone consultation.