Thursday, December 22, 2016

PRESS RELEASE: Life in the UK test may cause unexpected problems for EU citizens, says immigration expert


Life in the UK test may cause unexpected problems for EU citizens, says immigration expert

-With picture-

*TV and radio broadcast facilities available*

Prime Minister Theresa May has come under increasing pressure to allow EU citizens currently resident in Britain to stay post-Brexit. She has called on European leaders to make a reciprocal agreement protecting British and EU citizens after Brexit is triggered.

These plans may run into problems because of Britain’s “Life in the UK” citizenship test, according to an immigration expert. Professor Thom Brooks, Head of Durham Law School, claims that the test must be passed for both new citizens and permanent residents. EU citizens wanting to stay long term post-Brexit would need to pass it.

Professor Brooks says: “While the citizenship test was first launched to help support a bridge for migrants to integrate, it has quickly become a barrier to keep more people out.”

He likens the test to “a bad pub quiz” urgently needing reforms if it is to be fit for purpose. Brooks says: “The UK citizenship test is the test few British citizens can pass. There has never been any consultation with the more than two million that have sat it. No wonder it is grown into the oddity we see today.” Brooks sat the test in 2009 and became a British citizen in 2011.

The test handbook requires new applicants to know the age of Big Ben, the height of the London Eye and the name of the first person to start a curry house in London in order to become a permanent resident or citizen. There is no need to know how to contact emergency services or report a crime. The test is in its third edition and unchanged since 2013.

Professor Brooks argues that the government will have problems guaranteeing long term residency for EU citizens in the UK unless the citizenship test is revised urgently. “This is not only about ensuring a fair deal for EU migrants, but for British citizens too,” Brooks says. “Many in government and the civil service are rightly embarrassed by the test and will admit they could not pass it either. If they can’t, then neither should anyone else. Either the test goes or it’s revised – and with clear input from new citizens who passed it to get this right.”



Question 1

In 1999, what happened to hereditary peers in the House of Lords?

A – Their numbers were greatly increased

B – Their salaries were stopped

C – Women were allowed to inherit their titles

D – They lost their automatic right to attend the House of Lords

Question 2

Why is 1918 an important date in the history of women’s rights?

A – The first divorce laws were introduced

B – Women were given the right to vote

C – Equal pay laws were passed

D – Women were made legally responsible for their children

Question 3

Which TWO are examples of civil law?

A – Disputes between landlords and tenants

B – Carrying a weapon

C – Discrimination in the workplace

D – Selling tobacco

Question 4

Which of the following statements is correct?

A – Magistrates usually work unpaid and do not need legal qualifications

B – Magistrates must be specially trained legal experts who have been solicitors for three years

Question 5

Which language was spoken by people during the Iron Age?

A – Latin

B – Celtic

C – English

D – Anglo-Saxon

Question 6

Which TWO religions celebrate Diwali?

A – Buddhists

B – Hindus

C – Christians

D – Sikhs

Question 7

Which of the following statements is correct?

A – The Speaker of the House of Commons remains a Member of Parliament (MP) after election as Speaker

B – The Speaker of the House of Commons has to give up being an MP when elected Speaker

Question 8

When walking your dog in a public place, what must you ensure?

A – That your dog wears a special dog coat

B – That your dog never strays more than 3 metres away from you

C – That you dog does not come into contact with other dogs

D – That your dog wears a collar showing the name and address of the owner

Question 9

Which of the following statements is correct?

A – Halloween is a modern American festival that has recently become popular in the UK

B – Halloween has its roots in an ancient pagan festival marking the beginning of winter

Question 10

For approximately how many years did the Romans stay in this country?

A – 50 years

B – 100 years

C – 400 years

D – 600 years

Question 11

Which of the following statements is correct?

A – After the age of 70, drivers must renew their licence[s] every three years

B – After the age of 70, drivers must renew their licence[s] every five years

Question 12

Which TWO are 20th-century British discoveries or inventions?

A – Cloning a mammal

B – Cash machines (ATMs)

C – Mobile phones

D – Walkmans

Question 13

How many people serve on a jury in Scotland?

A – 8

B – 11

C – 15

D – 20

Question 14

What is the highest-value note issued as British currency?

A – £20

B – £70

C – £50

D – £100

Question 15

Which of the following statements is correct?

A – James VI of Scotland was related to Queen Elizabeth I of England

B – James VI of Scotland was not related to Queen Elizabeth I of England

Question 16

Which of the following statements is correct?

A – If your driving licence is from a country in the European Union you can drive in the UK for as long as your licence is valid

B – If your driving licence is from a country in the European Union you have to apply for a UK licence in order to drive

The correct answers are below – remember, you need 12 (75 per cent) correct to pass!

Question 1 = D; Question 2 = B; Question 3 = A and C; Question 4 = A; Question 5 = B; Question 6 = B and D; Question 7 = A; Question 8 = D; Question 9 = B; Question 10 = C; Question 11 = A; Question 12 = A and B; Question 13 = C; Question 14 = C; Question 15 = A; Question 16 = A


Professor Thom Brooks, Professor of Law and Government, in Durham Law School, Durham University, is available for comment on Thursday, December 22, and Friday, December 23, 2015, on

Monday, December 19, 2016

The sooner we have a conversation about immigration and citizenship, the better my new column for The Journal which can be read here (full access).

Immigration expert accuses Sajid Javid of 'guesswork' over oath of British values

Details online here (full access). Story in International Business Times about my comments re: the communities secretary.

PRESS RELEASE: Government oath betrays British values

All public office holders must swear a new oath of allegiance to British values to help combat extremism. Sajid Javid, the communities secretary, wants political and civic leaders to lead by example saying “We can’t expect new arrivals to embrace British values if those of us who are already here don’t do so ourselves.”
Javid has also said that he wants every new migrant to swear an oath in plans expected this spring. Only migrants becoming British citizens must do so at present.
The communities secretary’s remarks have been accused of betraying the British values they are meant to uphold. Professor Thom Brooks, Head of Durham Law School, said that British values like equality and the rule of law require that the government to avoid creating second class citizens. Brooks said: “If an oath to British values will help combat extremism, why is it only for public officers and new migrants but not everyone? The government has agreed to ban extremist right wing groups born in Britain. What is best for all should not only be limited to a few – and this selective decision about who must take an oath and who need not shows a lack of respect and fair play for all citizens new and old.”
An immigrant from the United States, Professor Brooks became a British citizen in 2011 after taking an oath of loyalty. He says: “British values are important to our democracy. The government acts against these values when it dictates our values. It should begin a public consultation and let the British people – and not ministers – decide what our values are.”