British citizenship test has high failure rate

Nearly a third of foreigners
wanting to make Britain their home failed their citizenship test in 2009,
figures show.

Of the 906,464 people who took it,
263,641 failed – meaning the pass rate was 70.9 per cent, Home Office figures

The 45-minute test on British
society, history and culture is a crucial step on the road to being allowed to
settle permanently or full citizenship.

Nationalities with a pass rate
below 50 per cent included Iraq, Bangladesh and Turkey – all major sources of

Some 40,200 Iraqis sat the exam,
with a pass rate of 47.9 per cent. Among the 30,014 Turks who took the test the
rate was 45.9 per cent, while out of 38,085 Bangladeshis, 21,345 failed – a
pass rate of 44 per cent.

Those from other non-EU countries
with high levels of migration to the UK performed better, including Nigeria,
with a pass rate of 82.5 per cent, and Zimbabwe with a pass rate of 90.2 per

Citizens of English-speaking
countries tended to do best in the 24 question multiple-choice exam.

The 13,223 Australians who took the
test had a pass rate of 98 per cent, just ahead of the United States on 97.9
per cent and Canada on 96.9 per cent.

It comes as separate Home Office
figures show the number of people granted British citizenship last year is at
its highest level since 2005.

Figures show 203,790 people were
given citizenship in 2009, up 59 per cent from 129,375 the previous year.

There was also a 40 per cent
increase in the numbers given grants of settlement in the UK and a 45 per cent
rise in those allowed to settle for employment reasons.

The data comes from the
International Passenger Survey of long-term international migration.