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Active CitizenshipWhat Could it Achieve and How?$
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Bernard Crick and Andrew Lockyer

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780748638666

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748638666.001.0001

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Active Citizenship: for Integrating the Immigrants

Active Citizenship: for Integrating the Immigrants

(p.112) 8 Active Citizenship: for Integrating the Immigrants
Active Citizenship

Elizabeth Meehan

Edinburgh University Press

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

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