here of my interview yesterday with BBC Radio 4. The discussion centred on the UK's citizenship test (go to 23 min 20 sec). I sat this test in 2009 in order to qualify for an Indefinite Leave to Remain visa (translation: permanent work visa). After earning an ILR visa, you must wait a period of no less than 12 months before applying for UK citizenship. The citizenship application normally takes about six months to process. I became a UK citizen last month.
There are several concerns I raise about the UK citizenship test: questions about demographics use out of date statistics (often from previous census 10 years ago), there are questions about government departments and offices that have been either rebranded or scrapped, and there are questions about programmes that no longer run. The current test was published in April 2007 -- and too many of the questions assume the world hasn't changed much since.
While I raise several concerns, I also make several clear recommendations. The first recommendation -- and something I've argued since 2009 -- is the need for the test to focus more on British history and culture. Curiously, there are questions on UK history on the UK citizenship test. This is a major difference between this test and others, such as the US test. In the US, candidates are asked about the Civil War, Declaration of Independence, and the first US President (e.g., George Washington). When I speak to people about the UK test, everyone seems unanimous on the need for greater inclusion of British history. A second recommendation is the addition of questions concerning basic law, such as your rights under arrest as well as search and seizure. There are no questions about this on the UK citizenship test either.
To my delight, the Prime Minister announced there will be major changes to the UK citizenship test about an hour after my interview was broadcast (which I'm sure was only a coincidence). One specific change will be the inclusion of questions about British history and culture. I'm genuinely excited about this news and looking forward to seeing what further changes might be enacted to not only bring the test up to date, but also much closer to the standards of public expectation on what the test should cover.
With any luck, the Home Office will also have a strong interest in speaking with academics in politics who have sat test and become naturalised British citizens if only to gather constructive feedback . . . .