English made necessary for immigrants to earn UK citizenship

December 4th, 2008 - 6:04 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Dec 4 (ANI): To get integrated into society, immigrants will have wait longer as they must have knowledge of English before they can become British citizens under changes to citizenship rules.

As part of the Borders, Immigration and Citizenship Bill, they will have to earn the right to a passport rather than simply achieving it through five years residence, The Times reported.

The latest measure will end the automatic right to stay and replace it with a new system of earned citizenship and temporary residence.

Arrivals will have to demonstrate a good ability in English and knowledge of life in Britain before becoming citizens. Immigrants who do no voluntary work will qualify only after eight years and those who become unemployed will be asked to leave.

The Bill will deny full access to social benefits, including social housing, to those who have not completed a new period of probationary citizenship of between one and five years, The Times reported.

The aim is to link the gaining of a British passport to a greater commitment to the British way of life.

Immigrants convicted of serious criminal offences could be barred from citizenship and those found guilty of minor crimes may face delays in having their applications processed, the Paper reported.

The Bill will also reduce the restrictions on people from overseas, but who have a British-born mother, applying to become a citizen. Children born to British mothers before 1961 will be able to apply for citizenship. Previously it was passed on through fathers. (ANI)

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