According to the Home Office, all individuals wishing to settle in the UK should demonstrate their commitment by learning English and by having an understanding of British history, culture and traditions.
Therefore, from 28 October 2013, unless they are exempt, all applicants for settlement or naturalisation as a British citizen will need to meet the knowledge of language and life in the UK requirement by:
– passing the life in the UK test; and
– having a speaking and listening qualification in English at B1 CEFR or higher, or its equivalent.
Many people are wondering if these changes are affecting the Life in the UK test itself. So it is important to note that the test itself has not changed. The test has the same format, and is based on the same study guide (“Life in the United Kingdom: A Guide for New Residents”) as before October 28, 2013. So just to be clear: no changes have been made to the test. The requirements (for settlement or naturalisation) have changed, but not the test itself.
According to the Home Office, a certain level of English (speaking and listening) is necessary for a successful integration into the British community. It is true that being able to communicate with the wider community (not just your own community) is essential for many practical reasons, to find a job, to understand all kind of administrative/official procedures, to start a business, to travel around, and so on. The Home Office will accept a range of English language qualifications as evidence that your speaking and listening qualification in English is at B1 CEFR or higher.
Also, according to the Home Office, it is essential that people who want to live permanently in the UK have a minimum understanding of British traditions, culture and history. The Life in the UK test is the way to test this knowledge of life in the UK.
For a full overview of these new requirements, go to https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/182545/statement-of-intent-koll.pdf