According to the British Home Office, a third of prospective immigrants to the UK fail to pass the citizenship test that is required by all new people seeking to live permanently in the country. The figures show where the highest pass rates are in terms of the country of origin of the individual – including Australia, the US, Canada, and African nations Nigeria and Zimbabwe.
Ostensibly, the British government introduced the citizenship test in 2005 to help ensure that new arrivals integrate better into British society. It covers issues such as Britain’s constitution, laws and regulations, practical knowledge of life in the UK, and even where dialects such as Scouse or Cockney come from. In addition, “passing the citizenship test demonstrates the candidate has "a sufficient knowledge" of the English language for the purposes of applying for settlement rights or a British passport”.
The BBC produced a citizenship test of their own based on the questions in the official book Life in the UK, which is required reading for anybody trying to pass the citizenship test. What is interesting is that it may well be the case that born-and-bred British may have difficulty with it! It raises the question of whether expats may actually have better knowledge than existing residents about the country they are moving to as they do not take it for granted. Is this ever true in your experience? Have you ever had to take a citizenship test?
Don’t forget to fill in the Expat Explorer 2010 survey – just one week left and we are looking for as many expats from as many countries as possible. The results may even help you with future relocation plans...