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Poll: A ‘more British’ test for aspiring citizens - but how well would you do?

15:18 28 January 2013

Migrants will have to know who Benjamin Britten is if they are to become UK citizens

Migrants will have to know who Benjamin Britten is if they are to become UK citizens


THE Government has unveiled changes to the test taken by foreign nationals wanting to settle in East Anglia and become UK citizens.

The revised Life in the UK test, set to be introduced in March, will place greater focus on the “values and principles at the heart of being British”.

It will cover events and people “who have contributed to making Britain great” as well as a range of topics including sport, music and key historical facts.

Last year, a total of 8,686 Life in the UK tests were taken at seven centres in the East of England, including Ipswich and Norwich, and more than 150,000 were taken nationally.

Immigration minister Mark Harper said: “We have stripped out mundane information about water meters, how to find train tables, and using the internet.

“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.

“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.”

The new handbook, which goes on sale today, forms the basis of the 45-minute exam all aspiring British citizens must pass.

It means migrants have to show they have an understanding of how modern Britain has evolved with the likes of Aldeburgh composer Benjamin Britten, The Beatles, musical theatre composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, writers including William Shakespeare and Robert Burns, and politician Winston Churchill.

Sporting knowledge, including questions on the London 2012 Olympic Games, will also be included.

Mr Harper added: “We have made radical changes to the immigration system and are determined to reduce net migration from the hundreds of thousands into the tens of thousands by the end of the Parliament.”

Answers: 1(a); 2(d); 3(a)


  • Why should we apply these tests to migrants when they aren't applied to the current population? Undercurrents of racism as usual from the Tories.

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    Ted Maul

    Monday, January 28, 2013

  • Have to know who Benjamin Britten is? I know the answer to that one so I should get in, a writer of appallingly unmusical operas etc. Have I passed?

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    Monday, January 28, 2013

  • The tests should be more about whether they can speak English and if the have any manners. Most foreign people I see struggle with both of those.

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    Monday, January 28, 2013

  • Not a nice comment RC; there are many English people who have poor manners and behave loutishly but we cannot generalise. But I do agree about the need to speak Engish and so question why there is an English test for the few thousands who settle here from non-EU countries but we allow in millions of EU citizens and many I have seen cannot speak any English at all. I think the government's immigration policy is a mess. It punishes those who came here to study (an MPs report said the UK has lost £2.4 billion because of it) or to work in healthcare (so now we have huge staff shortages in many Care Homes with staff working long hours many days a week, to the point of exhaustion and illness) but has no control over EU immigration. So even if it achieves its target of reducing immigration to the "tens of thousands" (very unlikely) it is only talking about non-EU immigration. With new EU countries being given freedom of movement, we soon may have MILLIONS of new immigrants from Eastern Europe, many unable to speak English (so we have to pay for translators) but able to claim benefits (unlike many other immigrants, including foreign students, who cannot claim anything). The problem is that most of the general public (certainly the thick ones) think that all immigrants come from non-EU countries and are here to steal our jobs and have free benefits. But many UK citizens are lazy and would not take those jobs anyway, especially at minimum wage. The problem for the UK comes from EU immigration. We lost our good export markets in favour of the EU and now we may lose some of our best immigrants in favour of EU immigration; the low standard of English, and other factors, leads me to worry that this is a time-bomb about to explode.

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    Monday, January 28, 2013

  • RC, you must be joking. Most foreign people I know have far better manners than most of us natives. And a lot of native Brits cannot speak proper English.

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    Monday, January 28, 2013

  • @RC : I agree about the ability to speak willingness to learn English. If I went to live in France Germany I would expect to speak French or German. As for the manners bit? Not sure where you are coming from there. Most foreign people I see have better manners than a lot of English people.

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    Monday, January 28, 2013

  • Seems to be all about what The Establishment thinks is important rather than the things that actually matter in order to successfully integrate into British society. Which is unsurprising as The State always considers its interests more important than those of the people of the nation.

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    Monday, January 28, 2013

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