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Lords committee urges review of the Life in the UK test

The Justice and Home Affairs Committee of the House of Lords has published a letter to Home Office Minister urging the Government to immediately begin a review of the Life in the UK Test.

The letter, which is signed by the chair of the committee, Baroness Hamwee, summarises the Committee’s findings from its inquiry into the Life in the UK test. It has been conducting the inquiry throughout 2022.

The Committee made several criticisms of the existing test and test arrangements, including:

  • an official handbook full of obscure facts and subjective assertions (including offensive historical content),
  • inaccessible test centres,
  • poorly-phrased questions that trivialise the process, and
  • costs that can be prohibitive for some.

The Committee pressed the Government to conduct a review of the Test and of its associated handbook. The Committee described a review as ‘long-overdue’.

You can read the letter here:


Even British people find the Life in the UK Test challenging

A research team from the University of Essex has conducted research into the Life in the UK Test. They had 270 people, most of them UK citizens, take a test based on the Life in the UK Test. The result was that 66% per cent failed the test.

This goes to show that if you plan to take the  Life in the UK Test you need to be fully prepared. You need to have fully read the study materials and have taken practice tests to check that you have learned the materials and are ready to take the official test.

If you would like to know more about the University of Essex research there is more detail in the article linked below:




Final year of EU Settlement Scheme begins

There is one year left before the EU Settlement Scheme application deadline of 30 June 2021.

So far there have been over 3.6 million applications to the EU Settlement Scheme and more than 3.3 million applications have been granted.

European Economic Area citizens and their family members who have been granted pre-settled or settled status now have the evidence they need to continue living and working in the UK.

The latest official statistics show that the highest number of applications have so far come from Polish citizens (697,900). Romanian citizens (590,100) and Italian citizens (363,600) are the next largest groups. Over 3.2 million applications have come from people living in England, 180,700 from Scotland, 59,400 from Wales and 59,700 from Northern Ireland.

New UK residence rights for British Nationals Overseas citizens in Hong Kong

The UK government has announced a new immigration route that will allow British Nationals Overseas (BNO) citizens in Hong Kong to come to the UK. This will grant them five years limited leave to remain, with the ability to live and work in the UK.

The new immigration rules will allow BNO citizens the right to live and work in the UK for longer than was previously allowed and give a path to full British citizenship.

After five years, they will be able to apply for settled status and, after a further 12 months with that status, apply for citizenship.

The new immigration route for BNO citizens will be implemented in the coming months. Further details, including implementation dates, are yet to be announced.

900,000 applications to EU settlement scheme

The latest EU Settlement Scheme statistics show that over 900,000 people have applied to the scheme.

Two-thirds of EU citizens who applied received settled status. For most this was because they had been resident in the UK for five years or more.

A third were granted pre-settled status.

Those with pre-settled status can stay for as long as they need to build up five years of continuous residence. Once they have five years of continuous residence they can apply for settled status.y

If you’re an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen, you and your non-EU family members can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme free of charge.

You can find full guidance and start your application at:

Home Secretary proposes changes to the Life in the UK Test

The Home Secretary has proposed a series of reforms to British citizenship.

The reforms include proposals to reform the Life in the UK test to give greater prominence to the British values and principles expected of those wishing to call the UK their permanent home.  The Home Office says the proposals would ensure that the test is more relevant to daily life and culture in the UK.

There are also proposals for tougher English language requirements for people applying for British citizenship.

A public consultation will be brought forward on the Life in the UK test.

He also outlined that powers to deprive individuals of their British citizenship will be applied to individuals convicted of the most serious criminal offences, where it is in the public interest.

Arrangements for the Life in the UK Test will remain unchanged for now. Any changes to the test and study materials would be made and implemented after the completion of the public consultation.

EU settlement scheme pilot launched

NHS workers, university staff and students in the North West of England will be taking part in a pilot of the new application process for the EU Settlement Scheme.

EU citizens working at 12 NHS Trusts, and students and staff from three universities in Liverpool will be invited to make real applications for settled status through the new digital process.

The pilot will allow those working on the scheme to test the new system. Using real applicants will help them make improvements ahead of the launch of the scheme towards the end of 2018.

The pilot will begin on 28 August 2018.

The initial pilot phase will be accessible by invitation only. Up to 4,000 applicants will be able to apply on a voluntary basis.

Assuming they are eligible, all those who go through the process will be granted settled status.

Certain features to be included in the full settlement scheme application process will not be available during the pilot. While the application process is conducted online, applicants for the pilot will need to attend an appointment with a Home Office representative who will help to take them through the process.


Discussion on settlement rights for citizens from Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland

Plans have been outlined to grant UK residents from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway similar rights post-Brexit as those from EU Member States. These developments have come as engagement between the UK and the three EEA EFTA members intensifies.

Agreement was reached in December 2017 to secure the rights of EU citizens living in the UK and UK citizens living in the 27 EU Member States. Government estimates put the number of people affected as 3 million EU citizens and 1 million UK citizens.

Government officials have met with their EEA EFTA counterparts in order to extend the deal to each other’s citizens.

The existing agreement between the EU and the UK covers residency, healthcare, pensions, mutual recognition of professional qualifications and other benefits. This could be extended to citizens of the three EEA EFTA states and UK citizens resident in these countries. The government estimates there are 18,000 Norwegian nationals, 2,000 Icelandic nationals and 40 Liechtenstein nationals living in the UK, and 15,000 UK nationals in Norway, 800 in Iceland and 60 in Liechtenstein.

EEA EFTA citizens are covered by free movement provisions through the EEA EFTA states’ membership of the European Economic Area Agreement. This allows them to currently move to the UK and other EU states, and similarly UK citizens are able to move to the three EEA EFTA states.

Following their meeting earlier this week the UK and EEA EFTA countries issued the following joint-statement:

Officials from the EEA EFTA States (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) and the United Kingdom met on 12 February 2018 to discuss the agreement reached by the United Kingdom and the European Union on citizens’ rights in December 2017. Positive discussions on these issues took place at the meeting and the parties affirmed their desire to secure the status and protect the rights of UK nationals living in Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein and nationals of those countries living in the UK.

Common Travel Area arrangements confirmed for after Brexit

22 December 2017

The Government has announced that, as part of the agreement reached with the EU, the rights enjoyed by British and Irish citizens under the Common Travel Area (CTA) will be protected after the UK leaves the EU.

The CTA allows for the free movement of British and Irish citizens between the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. It also guarantees the rights and entitlements to public services of citizens when in the other’s country. The CTA was formed before either the UK or Ireland were members of the EU and means that rights for Irish and UK citizens operate separately and alongside those rights enjoyed by EU nationals.

This means that Irish nationals will not be required to apply for settled status to protect their entitlements in the UK. The right to work, study and access social security and public services will be preserved on a reciprocal basis for UK and Irish nationals.

There will be also be no changes to the current arrangements for journeys between the UK and Ireland. This includes movement across the land border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, protecting the uninhibited movement enjoyed today.

Under the CTA, UK and Irish nationals enjoy a range of reciprocal rights – for example:

  • the right to enter and live in each others’ country
  • the right to work
  • the right to access education
  • access to social welfare entitlements and benefits
  • access to health services
  • access to social housing
  • the right to vote in local and parliamentary elections.

In short, Irish citizens residing in Great Britain do not need to do anything to ensure that their family and working lives will continue as they do now. Irish citizens’ rights under the CTA will be protected after the UK leaves the EU. And, specifically, this also applies to Irish citizens residing in Northern Ireland.

Another group of people whose rights will be protected after Brexit are frontier workers. In this particular situation a frontier worker is defined as a citizen of another EU country, living in Ireland and working in Northern Ireland. The UK Government has made that it clear that people in this category will have their rights protected after Brexit has taken place.


Home Secretary gives more details on settlement for EU nationals

19 December 2017

The Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, has written to EU nationals resident in the UK to reassure them about their future in the UK after Brexit.

This follows information provided recently by the Prime Minister, Theresa May, about negotiations and an agreement reached with the EU, details of which can be found here.

Ms Rudd emphasised that the agreement reached would ensure the rights that EU nationals and their families currently have would remain broadly the same after Brexit with access to healthcare, benefits and pensions protected. And close family members living outside the UK would retain the right to join EU nationals in the UK in the future.

Ms Rudd says the Home Office has been working hard to build the digital system that EU nationals will use use to get their new settled status. She says it is being designed from scratch to be quick and simple to use. She maintains that there won’t be bureaucratic hurdles – those processing applications will work in favour of applicants.

Ms Rudd also confirmed that the application for settled status will cost no more than the fee a British person pays for a passport.  If an applicant already has valid permanent residence documentation then the application process will be free. She says there will be support for vulnerable people and those without access to a computer. And the Government is consulting with EU citizens’ representatives and embassies to ensure the system works for everyone.

Ms Rudd says more detail about the settled status scheme will be released in the new year. It is expected that applications will open during the second half of 2018.