IMMIGRANTS attempting to gain residency in Blackburn have said a new citizenship test for foreign nationals will not equip them for life in the UK.
The Life in the UK exam focuses on British history, with no requirement to know how to register with a GP, how to ring for an ambulance, or what to do if someone is attacking your neighbour which is currently required.
People working with the immigrant population, teaching citizenship and studying immigration, in East Lancashire have called the test ‘far too hard’ and ‘a complete waste of money’.
Shajia Habib, a woman from Pakistan who is applying for indefinite leave to remain so she can be with her husband in Blackburn, said: “It is important to know the history of a country if you want to live there, so you can know some of the culture.
“I find it very interesting and not too difficult, but it is much more important to know how to live life day by day.
“You need to know what to do in everyday situations, like how to get your child into school, and what to do if you become ill.”
Siraj Parkar, a doctor from India who is also applying for indefinite leave to live with his wife in Blackburn, said: “Basic knowledge of how to function in the country is essential, although it is important to be able to know how to be a good citizen and get along in the culture too.”
Many of the people wishing to move here from abroad want to join spouses who have settled here.
But as of October 1, when the new test comes in, even if an applicant is married to a person living in the UK, if they do not pass entry three level English, the equivalent of a D in GCSE literacy, and the Life in the UK exam, they will not able to join their spouse.
Tahir Hussain, chief executive of Al-Hayat Language School, a government accredited English and citizenship college in Brookhouse, said he feared most people would fall at the first hurdle.
He said: “I’m not afraid to say I would fail the new Life in the UK test, and I have been teaching English for ten years and lived here since I was six.English people moving to India aren’t expected to go through this level of exams.”
Anjum Anwar, dialogue development officer at Blackburn Cathedral, said: “You don’t need to be an expert in history to be a good citizen.”