Theory, Practice and Policy
Edited by Devyani Prabhat
Chapter 2: The Life in the UK citizenship test and the urgent need for its reform
The Life in the United Kingdom test is an important part of British immigration policy attracting cross-party support, but which is also much misunderstood. This chapter examines how the test was launched, the problems with different versions of the test and, most importantly, recommendations for how it can be reformed. My research has found the test impractical, inconsistent, focused more on the purely trivial than practical trivia, gender imbalanced and already outdated. The analysis is not only critical. The government could choose to change the law and end use of the test. This would be one way to end many of the problems that the test has caused by itself. But another option is to reform the test urgently along the lines indicated below and, crucially, with the thus far absence of naturalised British citizens that have experienced the test first-hand. Such consultation is essential to ensuring the test lives up to its original purposes and can win public confidence. Neither is true at present, so inaction is not an option.
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