Immigrating To The UK? Brush Up On Your Monty Python

On sale today, the updated "Life in the United Kingdom" study guide, traditionally used as the basis for the written citizenship test, has replaced practical questions with cultural ones.

What's the Latest Development?

As of March, migrants who want to settle in the UK will be required to answer questions about British culture and history on the revised "Life in the United Kingdom" citizenship test. According to a study guide released today, practical questions about daily life have been replaced with questions ranging from "how to deal with trick-or-treaters at Halloween to comedy acts such as Monty Python and the Two Ronnies." Test-takers will also be expected to know about landmarks, patron saints, and other things that the Home Office has decided define "the heart of being British." More than 150,000 tests were taken last year.

What's the Big Idea?

On the Home Office Web site, minister Mark Harper says that his agency is "determined to reduce net migration...into the tens of thousands by the end of the Parliament." In response, Don Flynn of The Migrants' Rights Network compared the test to "an entry examination for an elite public school." In addition to the changed test, the Conservative-led government is also planning a "negative advertising" campaign targeting Romania and Bulgaria and downplaying the benefits (financial and otherwise) of living in the UK. Both immigrant communities are expected to triple in size by 2015, according to one Conservative MP. 

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