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Author: Thom Brooks

This first chapter introduces the ‘Life in the UK’ citizenship test. It provides an overview of its origins, its aims and the evidence that it has fallen short. The chapter provides a further overview of the book’s structure and the need for an urgently revised test.

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Author: Thom Brooks

This chapters looks at the developments that have happened since the current citizenship test was launched in 2013. The chapter focuses on the lessons that can be learned from abroad, with special attention on the citizenship test in the United States. Instead of creating arbitrary and inefficient barriers to naturalization through a knowledge test of often trivial facts, the test should serve as a bridge to citizenship as the last symbolic step on a journey – and with a refreshed citizenship ceremony.

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Author: Thom Brooks

This chapter provides a summary of conclusions arising from the previous six chapters. This final chapter provides a list of 20 recommendations for implementation by government. These recommendations would help ensure the test better fulfilled its original aims and purposes.

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Author: Thom Brooks

This chapter examines the third edition of the ‘Life in UK’ test, which is currently in place at the time of this book’s publication. The chapter makes clear the many substantive changes made from cover to cover in this edition, some of which were improvements. However, this third edition moved away from asking about trivia to the more purely trivial – making a test for British citizenship that it appears few British citizens could pass – and so makes a mockery of the idea of being a guide to shared values and practical knowledge that citizens old and new both possess.

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Author: Thom Brooks

This chapter focuses on the launch of the UK’s citizenship test in 2005. The test was widely mocked for a variety of mistakes, especially in relation to historical errors, in what came to be seen as a rushed effort. This chapter sets out how the new test tried to incorporate the justifying aims and exposes further errors with this first effort.

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Author: Thom Brooks

This chapter considers the second edition of the ‘Life in the UK’ citizenship test in 2007. Its purpose was to help correct the errors and other problems arising from the first edition in 2005. However, what the chapter uncovers is that lessons were not learned and problems became more acute. By the time a follow-up edition was published, it was possible to take a full test of questions from this second edition where every correct answer had become outdated and no longer factually true.

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Building Bridges, Not Barriers
Author: Thom Brooks

How many questions could you answer in a pub quiz about British values?

Designed to ensure new migrants have accepted British values and integrated, the UK’s citizenship test is often portrayed as a bad pub quiz with answers few citizens know. With the launch of a new post-Brexit immigration system, this is a critical time to change the test.

Thom Brooks draws on first-hand experience of taking the test, and interviews with key figures including past Home Secretaries, to expose the test as ineffective and a barrier to citizenship. This accessible guide offers recommendations for transforming the citizenship test into a ‘bridge to citizenship’ which fosters greater inclusion and integration.

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Author: Thom Brooks

This chapter examines the historical origins of the UK’s citizenship test. These origins drew inspiration from Australia, which had decided to base its future test, in part, on shared Australian values. Similarly, the UK launched several reports into shared British values – and shared public institutions – to set the scene for these playing a central role in a future test.

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Author: Colin Yeo

The Refugee Convention protects certain individuals and groups from ‘being persecuted’. No further direct definition is offered in the text of the Convention and the question of what might constitute ‘being persecuted’ has proven to be a challenging one to answer. The ambiguity can be regarded as constructive in nature: from the travaux preparatoires, we know that the drafters of the Refugee Convention had in mind that ‘being persecuted’ involved a high level of harm but they declined to lay down a more precise meaning. As an early scholar of refugee law, Grahl-Madsen, put it, ‘[i]t seems as if the drafters have wanted to introduce a flexible concept which might be applied to circumstances as they might arise; or, in other words, that they capitulated before the inventiveness of humanity to think up new ways of persecuting fellow men’. Goodwin-Gill makes the same point, saying ‘[t]here being no limits to the perverse side of human imagination, little purpose is served by attempting to list all known measures of persecution’. Enumeration of the various horrible acts that might amount to ‘being persecuted’ – or those slightly less horrible acts that might not – becomes self-evidently undesirable when seen in this light. A list may be simple and easily comprehended, but it is too rigid in that it fails to allow for context and is incapable of evolving over time. In 1979, the UNHCR Handbook stated that ‘[t]here is no universally accepted definition of “persecution”, and various attempts to formulate such a definition have met with little success’.

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Author: Colin Yeo

As well as being gained, refugee status can be lost, taken away or denied. Refugee status may be lost when it is no longer needed because the refugee can return home. In some situations, this may be voluntary on the part of the refugee but the Refugee Convention also provides for countries of asylum to terminate refugee status on certain grounds even if this is against the refugee’s wishes. The provisions in the Refugee Convention addressing loss of refugee status are often referred to as the cessation clauses and are found at Article 1C. Refugee status is also denied in some limited circumstances. Denial of refugee status is aimed at those who would normally be entitled to refugee status but who are considered either not to need it or not to deserve it. These provisions denying refugee status are often referred to as the exclusion clauses and are found at Articles 1D, 1E and 1F of the convention. Article 1D excludes Palestinian refugees on the basis that they are entitled to protection from a different United Nations agency. Article 1E was intended to apply to historic groups of ethnic Germans in post-war Europe but is framed more widely so as potentially to apply to those who have rights equivalent to the citizens of the country in which they reside. Article 1F excludes certain individuals on the grounds of moral opprobrium in order to protect the reputation and integrity of the Refugee Convention. Cessation of or exclusion from refugee status are conceptually distinct from formal retention of refugee status but loss of the benefits of refugee status, including protection from expulsion or refoulement.

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