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New Citizenship Test is Unfit for Purpose, according to immigration expert
Expert in citizenship and immigration, the University Academic Dr Thom Brooks of Durham University publicly announced an immediate need for the revision of the new British citizenship test. He claims the test introduced as of March 2013 was not necessarily relevant to the practical aspects of daily living in the UK. The current handbook Life in the United Kingdom: A guide for New Residents was published earlier this year.
For Dr. Brooks, a native US citizen, this is a passion project born from his own experience of trying to become a citizen of the UK which he successfully achieved as of September 2011.
While he agrees that it is, in fact, important to have an understanding of british history and culture these shouldn’t be the main areas in deciding if one deserved to be a citizen or permanent resident.
it would be more useful if the test allowed room to demonstrate an understanding of day to day functioning in the life of a british citizen and therefore should possibly include questions on the duties and responsibilities expected from citizens and the steps that should be taken to better integrate into society. It seems that in previous versions of the test it did assess some of the more bureaucratic practices of the UK.
He further suggests that the problem can’t simply be solved by making the questions on the test easier, or more common-knowledge based, because this wouldn’t allow those who’ve studied and prepared for the test to do any better than someone who hasn’t intentionally prepared for it. This is a problem because while the UK is welcoming to immigrants it must also control and regulate immigration, this is why the test was created in the first place.
Dr Brooks disappointedly adds that immigrants who have undergone the process of being granted Indefinite Leave or citizenship have not been asked for feedback on how to improve the test and being they are the only ones, other than the test makers, to have experienced it no one else’s feedback could be more valuable.
In his 2012 journal article “ The British Citizenship Test: The Case for Reform” Dr. Brooks undertakes an in depth analysis of what steps can be taken to further improve the validity of the test.
In another report by Dr Brooks “The ‘Life in the United Kingdom Citizeship Test’. Is it Unfit for Purpose?” he states the test is inconsistent with the study material provided, including questions that aren’t mentioned in the guidebook. It also says that there is a gender imbalance in the test as it asks more questions about historical males than females.
Given this test is such an important part of immigration policy more care and scrutiny must be taken and hence the importance of a reform.