Want to be British?
” Immigrants who want to become British and settle permanently in the UK will need to pass more tests to “prove their worth” to the country under new plans.
Some migrants may also have to pay into a fund towards public services and have a period of “probationary citizenship”.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown said the UK should expect a “demonstration of commitment” and the process of becoming a citizen should be “more exacting”.
The Tories called the plans, which do not cover EU citizens, a “gimmick”.
Unveiling the proposals, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said future migrants would need to “earn” citizenship. This scraps the current system which allows people to apply for naturalisation on the basis of how long they have lived in the UK.
Ms Smith said migrants from outside the European Economic Area would be encouraged to “move on” through a system that leads to citizenship – or choose ultimately to leave the country.
The package of measures includes:
- Raising visa fees for a special “transitional impact” fund
- More English language testing ahead of nationality
- Requirements to prove integration into communities
- Increasing how long it takes to become British
In a speech to the Institute for Public Policy Research think-tank, Mr Brown said the UK had to be “far more explicit about the ties – indeed the shared values – that make us more than a collection of people but a country”.
Earned citizenship would include “clear rights but also stronger obligations at each stage”.
Mr Brown added: “And we will emphasise what binds us – showing that our tolerance and fairness are not to be taken advantage of – without diminishing the diversity of what we hold dear.”
That’s all well and good and I support the Government 100% on these new proposals, however, it will have an impact on people like me who make their living from people who are wanting to learn English as part of their bid to become a British citizen. I can imagine an influx of panic registrations from people who fear they’ll be asked to leave if their languge skills are not up to scratch.
At the moment the majority of students on programme with us are refugees or asylum seekers, it’s not often we get economic migrants, if we do, they’re usually from an EU country. Most are with us becuase they have been unemployed for 6 months or more and are being sent by Jobcentre Plus as part of “New Deal”, most are what politicians like to call “economically inactive” which in plain text means a burden and drain on the state and taxpayers money. Which is why Home Secretary Jacqui Smith also stated (and the BBC didn’t report) is that new migrants under the new scheme will be NOT be eligible for benefits until they have been in the UK for at least a year. Until then, they have to be self sufficient, or working.
Under the new rules they will be classed as temporary residents – the status they receive as a worker, relative or recognised refugee.
After five years they will be given an entirely new status for a minimum of another 12 months – “probationary citizen”.
This probationary status will ultimately lead to someone becoming a British citizen or permanent foreign resident – or being told it’s time to move on.
This is all providing that they don’t vanish from the system or the Home Office don’t lose their details on a CD!