Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Immigrants would have to earn British citizenship under a points-based system to be proposed by two ministers

BBC News:

Communities Secretary Ruth Kelly and Immigration Minister Liam Byrne will outline ideas for a stronger sense of British and local citizenship.

It includes proposals that credit would be given to migrants doing voluntary work but lost for breaking the law.

A national day to promote a stronger sense of British identity is also among ideas in a pamphlet out on Wednesday.

The pamphlet, A Common Place, calls for a "vital debate" over the coming months about "how to create a fair, effective, transparent and trusted approach" to the idea of earning citizenship.

It says next year Britain is introducing an "Australian-style points system" for all migrants outside the EU seeking to work and study in the UK and suggests that "earned citizenship" is a "logical next step".

The pamphlet, for the left-of-centre think tank the Fabian Society, says: "Those aspiring to settle and then go on to become full citizens would need to accrue credits."

The two ministers suggest the current journey to citizenship is "unclear and could do more to encourage integration".

"We suggest a new points-based based system with additional credits required for civic and voluntary work, respect for the rule of law, not just passing a basic English test, but learning more and faster," they say.

Such a system would allow credits to be deducted, such as if someone broke the law or spent an extended period of time outside the UK.

It would include sanctions for offences including dangerous driving, anti-social behaviour and fly tipping.

The two ministers say UK communities need a stronger sense of what they have in common, and they also say the proposed national day would celebrate British values and achievements.

Citizenship must be earned, says minister

Call for 'Britain Day' to encourage integration


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