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Citizenship tests- what does it consist of and what is
the purpose of having them
· Introduced in 2005, the test is meant to help new arrivals hoping to make Britain their home
and help them integrate better into British society.
· It covers issues such as Britain's constitution, the originating countries of previous UK
immigrants, family life in the UK and where dialects like Geordie, Scouse or Cockney come
from.
· More practical matters such as the minimum age to buy alcohol and tobacco and what
services are provided by local authorities are also covered.
· According to the Home Office website, "studying for and taking the test will give you the
practical knowledge you need to live in this country and to take part in society".
· 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.…read more

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Statistics
· Figures show 203,790 people were given citizenship in 2009, up 59% from 129,375 the
previous year.
· There was also a 40% increase in the numbers given grants of settlement in the UK and a 45%
rise in those allowed to settle for employment purposes.
Highest and lowest pass rates
· 100% PASS RATE: American Samoa, Andorra, Comoros, Cook Islands, East Timor, French
Metropolitan, Gibraltar, Kiribati, Leichtenstein, Luxembourg, Niue, Palau, Puerto Rico,
Reunion, Rhodesia, San Marino, Sao Tarme and Principe, Soviet Union, Suriname, Tuvalu,
Virgin Islands, Western Sahara
· 0% PASS RATE: British Indian Ocean Territories, British Overseas Territories, Christmas Island,
Netherlands Antilles, Timor Leste…read more

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Criticisms
· In 2011, the government announced its intention to include questions on
the UK's history and remove questions on the EU from the test and
according to Cameron, "Immigrants must pass the test on British history".
· In 2012, the New Statesman described the test as `mocking Britishness'
since there was no general agreement amongst the population on what
was or wasn't relevant to culture and history. Every member of the New
Statesman editorial team failed the test which was described as irrelevant
in determining who will be a good citizen.…read more

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British citizenship test: One in three immigrants fails
"Nearly a third of foreigners
wanting to make Britain their
home failed their citizenship test
in 2009, figures show." BBC
· The pass rate was 70.9%, Home Office figures show.
· Nationalities with a pass rate below 50% included Iraqis,
Bangladeshis and Turks - all major sources of migrants.
· Some 40,200 Iraqis sat the exam, with a pass rate of
47.9%. Among the 30,014 Turks who took the test the
rate was 45.9%, while out of 38,085 Bangladeshis,
21,345 failed - a pass rate of 44%.
· Those from other non-EU countries with high levels of
migration to the UK performed better, including Nigeria,
with a pass rate of 82.5%, and Zimbabwe with a pass
rate of 90.2%.…read more

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Arguments for
· The political participation argument- citizenship tests encourage applicants for citizenship to develop the
competences that are required for, or that facilitate, effective political participation.
· The societal participation argument- citizenship tests encourage would-be citizens to develop the
competences that are required for, or that facilitate, full participation in society. Societal participation
might be regarded as valuable for the individual because of the way in which it enriches his or her life; it
might also be regarded as beneficial to society, or to other members of society, on the grounds that
immigrants in general bring with them their own cultural heritage which others can also enjoy or from
which they can learn, or bring with them particular skills that are of benefit to the society they are joining.
· The social cohesion argument- this is the argument that citizenship tests encourage would-be citizens to
acquire the competences that are required for, or that facilitate, `meaningful contact' with other members
of society in one or more of a variety of different spheres. Meaningful interaction might be regarded as
important because of its potential role in reducing prejudice, promoting respect, and fostering the mutual
trust that is required for, or conducive to, the smooth functioning of a reasonably just society
· The shared values argument- maintains that citizenship tests encourage would-be citizens to adopt the
values or national identity of the society they are joining…read more

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