Author: By Tom Peck
Migrants who contribute to ?the democratic life of the country?, by
canvassing for political parties for example, or who show ?active
citizenship? by serving in their communities, may have their application
process shortened from three years to one.
But those who show an ?active disregard for UK values?, which
could include protesting at homecoming parades of British troops, may find
their applications blocked. The proposals, unveiled yesterday by Immigration
minister Phil Woolas, would make it much tougher for the 150,000 people who
apply for British citizenship each year.
He said: ?If someone is applying to be a citizen to our country we think
that you should not only obey the law but show you are committed to our
country. This is what America does, it is what France does … and we think
we should do the same.?
Those who fail to integrate into ?the British way of life?, or find
themselves in ?circumstances where an active disregard for UK values
is demonstrated? would face having points deducted.
Until now, newcomers were virtually assured of British citizenship provided
they had been resident in the country legally for five years, working and
paying taxes. Family members and refugees would automatically pass the test
but for economic migrants, criteria such as earning potential, artistic,
scientific or literary merits, qualifications, their ability to speak
English and how long they have been resident in Britain would all play a
The Conservative immigration spokesman Damian Green said the proposals were
?pure spin?, adding: ?This is an act of desperation by a
government that … has let immigration run out of control for more than a
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