Sunday, September 08, 2013

Policy Proposal #2: Improve Immigration Tests

This post is part of a series of policy proposals submitted to the Labour Party by me for inclusion in the 2015 manifesto.

Improving the Life in the UK test

The 'Life in the United Kingdom' test is an important part of British immigration policy attracting cross-party support. This report is the most comprehensive and rigorous examination of the test available. The report considers how the current edition compares with previous editions and it identifies several problems that should be addressed in a future edition. The report supports 12 recommendations.

I would be very keen to lead a new revision of this test - as a university academic and academic lawyer who actually passed the test and knows first hand how immigration to the UK works - as part of a larger conversation about British citizenship for the 21st that is fair and accountable.....

READ MORE.

3 comments:

Matt Lister said...

Hi Thom,

Your ideas would obviously lead to a better test, but I'm still not convince why a test is needed at all. (I think it's not obviously unjust to have a good one, but think there's good reason to just dump the whole idea.) I'd be curious to know what you think of Joe Carens' idea, perhaps most clearly up in his essay, "Why citizenship should be easy" that we'd be better off w/o any tests at all. I don't often agree with him, at least completely, but think he was exactly right in that essay, at least in the practical aspects. Do you think a test is _justified_, or is hoping for a better test the best we can do now?

Thom Brooks said...

This is very useful - and I must re-visit Joe's piece again soon. Scrapping the tests seems politically unpalatable: so I think the question politically/practically speaking is not whether to have these tests, but how how they might better fulfil policy objectives. (So I bracket questions of intrinsic justice, etc.) It's clear that the test - at least in the UK - does not satisfy its objectives. I've argued the test should be seen more as a bridge than a barrier. So I don't think (and hopefully agree with Carens)the test should not be about trying to prevent citizenship on technicalities (e.g., failing to recall one date in history, etc.) Instead, part of the "test" might be seen not only as an exam, but good citizenship over a period of time (e.g., no criminal record, etc.) Perhaps we might even justify a test, but without an exam...

Matt said...

Thanks, Thom- that seems quite reasonable.