Migrants will have to pass a quiz on British history and culture to receive a UK passport, David Cameron announced yesterday.
In a wide-ranging plan to ‘get a grip’ on our borders, the Prime Minister also urged the public to report suspected illegal immigrants to Crimestoppers.
And he admitted there was ‘discomfort and tension’ in some communities over the levels of migration.
Crackdown: David Cameron urged the public to report suspected illegal immigrants to Crimestoppers in a wide-ranging plan to 'get a grip' on our borders.
Pledge: The speech contained a suggestion to consider making forced marriage illegal - an idea critics claim could leave victims less likely to come forward.
Foreign nationals wanting to settle in the UK permanently have been required to sit a multiple-choice ‘Life in the UK’ test for the past six years.
But, in a highly controversial move, Labour ministers ruled it should not include a history section because there was ‘too much and it would not be fair’.
Instead, migrants are grilled on the structure of the European Union, state benefits, equal rights and discrimination.
Yesterday, Mr Cameron said ministers would ‘revise the whole test to put British history and culture at the heart of it’.
Subjects to be covered include Roman Britain, Boudica, the Norman Conquest, Magna Carta, the Wars of the Roses, Elizabeth I, the Civil War, the Battle of Britain and Winston Churchill.
To make room, questions on the operation of the single market and on the differences between the Council of Europe, EU, European Commission and European Parliament will be dropped.
Making only his second major speech on immigration, Mr Cameron said he wanted to bring much-needed ‘fairness’ to the system.
‘While it’s crude and wrong to say immigrants come to Britain and take all our jobs, there’s no doubt that badly controlled immigration has compounded the failure of our welfare system and allowed governments and employers to carry on with the waste of people stuck on welfare when they should be working,’ he said.
The Prime Minister said that – in order to meet his promise to reduce net migration to the tens of thousands – the Government had to crack down on student visas, work visas, marriage, settlement and illegal immigration.
There were also proposals to make migrants pay a bond, possibly of thousands of pounds, before they are allowed to enter the UK. This would work to stop them disappearing into the black economy.
Plans were also unveiled to crack down on any migrant who owes the NHS £1,000 or more for non-emergency treatment.
They will either not be allowed a visa – preventing them from getting any follow-up treatment – or refused a renewal of their permission to stay.
Officials estimate the proposal to tackle ‘health tourism’ could save £20million over five years. The rules will not be applied retrospectively.
The speech contained a pledge to consider making forced marriage illegal – an idea critics claim could leave victims less likely to come forward.
A move to make firms count the number of foreign staff they employ was abandoned. Mr Cameron drew direct links between the culture of welfarism in Britain and the fact so many foreign workers, such as hard-working Poles, had secured jobs.
Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said: ‘Another week, another rewritten speech from the Prime Minister. Yesterday Downing Street said David Cameron would require companies to publish lists of foreign employees, and within 24 hours it has been dropped.