While we’re on the U.K. today I thought I’d dredge up a couple older stories from the pile of links I haven’t gotten to recently.

brit_passport

It looks as though it’s gonna get tougher for immigrants in the U.K. to go through the citizenship acquiring process. And oddly, it seems to be a “become a citizen or leave” plan – what ever happened to people keeping their original nationality and just being legal residents if that’s what they want?

Foreigners living in Britain will be expected to go through a new expanded citizenship process or leave the country, under new plans outlined by ministers today.

The Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said she wanted to end the situation where foreign nationals “languish in limbo” by living here but not adapting to the British way of life.

Even the ultra-wealthy – who can currently avoid some of the conditions imposed on less well-off immigrants – will be expected to apply for British nationality or permanent residence.

“I would want to see a larger proportion of those that are here moving to full British citizenship,” said Ms Smith.

I remember meeting a professor at Cambridge, an American, who had been in the U.K. for 20 some odd years and never taken citizenship, he kept his American passport. (Two of the groups cited as not becoming citizens often enough are Americans and Australians btw). What wrong with that? This guy contributed, paid his taxes, obviously was a productive member of society. What does it matter? Especially in folks coming from such culturally similar places as the US and Australia.

And what’s a piece of paper saying they’re a citizen going to do if the cultural divide is really substantial? It sounds like they’re not paying attention to the root of integration problems – economic and social inequality, lack of opportunities, etc… They just want to announce harsher rules in the name of getting people to declare themselves British.

And this is weird too right?

Winning citizenship will take at least six years from the point someone arrives in the UK, a year longer than at present because of a new stage of “probationary citizenship”.

The probation period will last 12 months if the foreigner takes part in community activities such as volunteering, charity fund-raising, running a sports team or playgroup, or working as a school governor.

Migrants who do not take part in community work will have to wait longer – the existing five years plus a minimum of three years’ probation.

This type of community work may even be made compulsory, said a Green Paper published today.

Gawd, it’s like joining volunteer clubs to make a good impression on your college apps – forced civic pride just seems tacky to me, like kissing up to teacher, seems awful patronizing. And what if a worker just doesn’t have the time? I don’t think most immigrants are exactly sitting around with tons of leisure time to fill coaching football.

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