Active Citizenship: for Integrating the Immigrants

Elizabeth Meehan

in Active Citizenship

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print September 2010 | ISBN: 9780748638666
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671939 | DOI:
Active Citizenship: for Integrating the Immigrants

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This chapter starts by acknowledging the precariousness of policy in the area of immigration and naturalisation. Acquiring a ‘sense of belonging’ which integrates ‘New and Old’ is a requisite for active citizenship. However, it appears that there has been a significant shift from the policy of ‘encouraging and enabling’ to the notion that citizenship must be ‘earned’. This can be associated with increasing suspicion of incomers, concern about levels of immigration and the need for secure borders. The chapter traces the development of language and cultural knowledge tests as a precondition for the granting of citizenship in the United Kingdom, as well as the provision of educational opportunities for would-be citizens to reach the threshold levels needed by the tests. The shift in ethos to ‘earned citizenship’ including a probationary period where access to benefits is limited, and serving on a community body is seen as a compulsory requirement, apparently coincides with the UK Borders Agency replacing the Advisory Board on Naturalisation and Integration as the agency advising on citizenship.

Keywords: active citizenship; immigration; naturalisation; United Kingdom; earned citizenship; Borders Agency; cultural knowledge tests

Chapter.  6925 words. 

Subjects: UK Politics

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