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British citizenship - points test for earned citizenship

12 February 2010

In 2009 the UK immigration authorities conducted a public consultation relating to the proposed introduction of the earned citizenship points scheme. As part of the consultation the UKBA analysed the 2,201 written responses and published the results of the analysis on 10 February 2010.

The Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009 sets the framework for reforming the journey to citizenship, and the proposals in the consultation take the government's reform of the UK immigration system to the next stage - strengthening the control of those coming permanently to the UK, while supporting integration and managing the impacts of migration.

The following points were concluded:

Most of the participants agreed that having a points test was sound in principle, however there were some concerns raised regarding the ability to objectively assess points for concepts such as integration, adoption of British values and other aspects such as artistic merit. Some participants felt that any list would discriminate against someone.

It was agreed that points should not be awarded for attending orientation days. There were concerns that certain professions with a social value but comparatively low financial reward would be disadvantaged. Points for qualifications would need careful vetting of the qualifications or awarding institutions. Those in favour of a points test were keen to award points for English language proficiency. Concern was expressed over how the UKBA would operate points for location.

The majority of participants disagreed on the idea of awarding points based on volunteering. Issues raised included: creating an administrative and financial burden; potentially a high number of Criminal Record Bureau checks would be needed; some migrants would not have time to volunteer; it could be divisive if migrants are rewarded for volunteering whilst other members of society receive no reward. The availability of volunteering opportunities in some areas was also a concern.

The overwhelming consensus was that while deduction of points for not meeting certain goals might be a good idea in principle, it would be difficult to objectively operate and could be unfair to some migrants.Some participants thought that an overarching criminality policy was preferable to a deduction of points. Others suggested that there should be a deduction for failure to integrate and adopt British values (attend school, pay taxes, obey the law, follow rules etc).

Views were divided on whether there should be one or two English and Knowledge of Life Tests. Some participants suggested that Local Authorities might carry out assessments – rather than formal tests - when people register their citizenship application.

Many participants thought the Knowledge of Life test needed revisions and should be more focused on the information migrants need to live successfully in the community.

There was a general support for testing reading, written and spoken English skills and that the standard expected should be higher. Many participants stated that there should be more focus on conversational English necessary in real life.

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Migra & Co is a private immigration company, regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC), reference number F200900038. This website is not a government website and as such, we are not linked or affiliated with the UK Visas and Immigration. We offer expert legal advice and flexible tailored solutions to both private and corporate clients to ensure that their immigration needs are met. If you wish to download or prepare a UK visa application form, you can do so free of charge by visiting the Official UKVI website.