From today, all immigrants wishing to acquire British citizenship must pass a test to show their knowledge of the country’s customs and history. It costs 50 euros and is also designed to demonstrate a working knowledge of the English language.
Potential citizens must answer three quarters of the 24 questions correctly to pass. Questions include: “What are MPs?” and “What is the Church of England and who is its head?”, some of which natives questioned on the street found hard to answer.
Immigration minister Tony McNulty says it is not a test about being British:
“It doesn’t measure how good a citizen they are going to be, but it is an important pathway from their previous status to the status of a full and productive citizen.”
The number of people granted British citizenship rose to more than 140,000 people last year, up 12 percent on 2003.
The Immigration Advisory Service has given the test a cautious welcome but warned it should not be seen as a way of excluding people from British citizenship.