British citizenship test criticised after applicant's 64 attempts

The Life in the UK Test for those applying for British citizenship and indefinite leave to remain (permanent residence) has been heavily criticised, after it was revealed that an immigrant was allowed to take the test 64 times before passing it. The unnamed migrant, who needed to pass the test as one of the requirements to be able to apply for British citizenship, was allowed to retake the 45-minute test repeatedly; there are no restrictions on how many times you can take the test.

The 'Life in the UK' test requires applicants to answer 75 per cent of questions correctly, and includes 24 questions about UK traditions and customs. Officials confirmed that there is no limit on the number of times a migrant can take the test.

Britain a soft touch

Philip Davies, a Conservative MP, said: "This is despicable. How one can justify 64 attempts at the test is beyond me. Whatever this person didn't know after five attempts they won't know at all. I think this situation highlights just how much of a soft touch Britain has become."

He added: "What other country in the world permits 64 attempts? They'd say you have failed, off you go. We might as well not bother if we're just going to let people continue taking the test until they pass."

Life in the UK test

Originally introduced by the Labour Party in 2005, the Life in the UK test was re-written in 2013 following concerns that the previous version of the test was too easy; a 90 per cent pass rate was achieved by candidates taking the test.

Among the 24 questions asked of applicants, they're required to answer 'who has contributed to making Britain great?' Questions on topics such as sport, music and key historical events are also asked.

The 2013 re-write focused the test less on the practicalities of day-to-day life in Britain; It focussed more on the country's past and culture with a view to making the test more difficult. Over 65s and under 18s are exempt from taking the test. Once you have passed the test it is not necessary to take it ever again.

Young Britons would fail the test

In 2014, a survey was carried out to assess how young Britons – those aged 18 -25 – would do in the test. It found that the majority of young Britons would fail the exam as they do not have a grasp of what the Government considers to be "core British values".

At the time of the survey, one British participant said: "There are a lot of questions about politics and the electoral system, which people should know about, but I only knew some of the answers because of studying politics at school."

Another participant in the survey had the following to say: "However, some of the questions were ludicrous, like: which fruit do we use to carve Halloween lanterns? How do schools fundraise for new equipment? What exactly is the Grand National? All of which were pretty pointless questions."