Changes to toughen UK citizenship test set to be announced

Following on from 2005's introduction of the UK citizenship test and 2008's introduction of the skilled immigration points test as a requirement for Tier 1 applicants to the UK, Home Secretary Alan Johnson now looks set to make further rigorous changes to UK immigration.

The changes will be announced officially today, but Mr Johnson has hinted that the changes could have a serious impact on both the migration flow to the UK and the UK citizenship application process. Indications have been made that migrants could soon be required to work in the UK for 10 years before becoming eligible for a British passport - a full 5 years more than the current requirements

The new UK citizenship test system could also see a new points-deduction inititative taken, with points removed from applicants for passports who had a history of anti-social behaviour (such as protesting against British troops or failing to integrate into British society).

Speaking on the changes, Mr Johnson was quoted as saying: "Already we require people earn the right to become citizens by paying taxes, speaking English and obeying the law.

"Bad behaviour will be penalised, and only those with enough points will earn the right to a British passport. No longer will there be an automatic link between temporary work and becoming a permanent UK citizen."

Mr Johnson also forecast that there would be a fall in the number of non-EU migrants arriving in the UK, a forecast that comes as a result of both the tighter rules being introduced and also the economic downturn slowing the migration streams.

The UK Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in UK immigration and UK work permit applications.