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Last Updated: Monday, 4 December 2006, 13:18 GMT
Citizenship tests to be extended
Shoppers in London's Oxford Street
Last year 180,000 people were granted settlement to stay
Immigrants seeking indefinite leave to remain in the UK will have to take a citizenship test from next year, the Home Office has announced.

Foreigners will have to pass English language and "Life in the UK" tests before the government grants them permanent settlement rights.

Immigrants applying to become British citizens have had to take citizenship tests since November 2005.

Immigration Minister Liam Byrne said the tests would promote integration.

Those wishing to settle permanently in the UK but not take on citizenship will have to pass the tests from 2 April.

'Full role'

Applicants who already have a good standard of English will take the "Life in the UK" test.

They will be given 24 multiple choice questions designed to test their knowledge of UK society on a range of subjects from traditions to laws.

Those whose English is poor will have to complete the new English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) "Skills for Life" course.

Last year 180,000 people were granted indefinite leave to remain in the country.

Immigration Minister Liam Byrne said: "It is essential that migrants wishing to live in the UK permanently recognise that there are responsibilities that go with this.

"Having a good grasp of English is essential in order for them to play a full role in society and properly integrate into our communities."


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