Thursday, January 15, 2009

It may now take 10 yrs to get UK citizenship

LONDON: Immigrants in Britain now might have to wait for 10 years before they can apply for citizenship with the UK government proposing new
tests and a longer probationary period.

The proposals, which were introduced in parliament and expected to be implemented from late 2009, include a new 'immigration tax' to help finance the extra pressure that immigrants put on services such as health and education.

Immigrants from India are among the largest groups that are given British citizenship. Currently, immigrants need to spend six years in the UK before applying for citizenship but under the new proposals they will have to stay for 10 years.

The probationary period is intended to ensure that immigrants "prove their worth" by demonstrating the ability to speak English, maintain a record of paying taxes and involvement in the community.

The probationary period will lengthen if foreign nationals applying to become British commit minor crimes or fail the tests in other ways. Foreign nationals waiting to become British will not be eligible for some benefits until they pass the final citizenship tests.