JIS News

Jamaicans and other nationals seeking British citizenship will now have to take the Oath of Allegiance to the Queen and make a new loyalty pledge during special citizenship ceremonies.
The first ever citizenship ceremony was held in the London borough of Brent today (February 26), with His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales and the Home Secretary, David Blunket, as guests of honour.
It was the first time that new British citizens took the traditional Oath of Allegiance to the Queen, and made a new pledge to uphold British democratic values.The new requirements are a part of the British Government’s reforms, which the Home Office said were designed to aid the integration of those who adopted the United Kingdom (UK) as their permanent home.
“Britain has a great tradition as a tolerant and welcoming nation. I am very pleased to be at the first of many ceremonies, which will help to bind together our communities with shared values, which allow people to be proud of both their background and their new home,” Mr. Blunket said.
“We want to encourage those who have settled in the UK to take up British citizenship and play a full part in their wider community. Those who decide to make the UK their permanent home often have a pride in their adopted country that I hope we can all share today. The integration of all those who live in the UK is a central part of our managed migration policy which benefits our society and economy,” he added.
In addition to the Citizenship ceremonies, the Government is also moving forward with plans for classes in English and citizenship by introducing pilot schemes over the next year to ensure that all new citizens can speak English and understand life in the UK.
The UK Government has already accepted the proposal of the ‘Life in the United Kingdom Advisory Group’, that prospective citizens should show measurable progress in English, rather than having to reach a single standard, and that the citizenship studies should be organised into six main areas – British national institutions in recent historical context; Britain as a diverse society; knowing the law; employment; sources of help and information; and everyday needs.

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