That headline's more like it!

A short entry about a James Slack article today. I suppose that's something to be grateful for.

The story is 'The test that's letting in one migrant every three minutes (and could you pass it?)'.

To make up for yesterday's story, this one's headline bears no relation to reality. The test isn't what 'lets in migrants'. It's one thing that migrants must pass before they get citizenship or leave to remain. They have to meet all sorts of other criteria as well as passing this test before they qualify. Before these tests existed, everyone who passed all the other criteria would be 'let in'. Now, over 30% of applicants are actually turned away because of failing them. The headline would more accurately be 'The test that's keeping out one migrant every ten minutes' since passing the test doesn't guarantee citizenship, but failing guarantees you won't get it.

There's a quote from a Tory MP too. Hurrah!

There's also the bonus of a nice little contradiction of yesterday's story, which estimated that 160,000 Eastern Europeans would end up staying in the UK forever and ever. Today's says:
The first country-by-country breakdown of pass rates also reveals that thousands of EU citizens, already free to live in Britain for life, are choosing to swop [sic] their passport for a British one.

They include 944 from Poland and 2,000 from the other seven former Eastern Bloc countries which joined the EU in May 2004.
This is, presumably, the period between January and October last year. Let's say it is, and estimate the total by bumping up the figures a bit for 2006 and 2005 to take into account the fact that these were full years, and be way generous and push them up to 5,000 a year for those to and 3,000 for 2004. That would mean that less than twenty thousand have actually applied for citizenship and passed a test since May 2004. Slighty fewer than 160,000. Of course, there will be people here who intend to stay but haven't applied yet, but eight times as many?

This is another potential goldmine for Slack, since the government are now extending the test to include people only applying for permanent residence as well as those applying for citizenship, so the number passing will necessarily be higher next time figures are announced because an extra category of people is being tested.

So, a number of unquestioning Mail readers will now be wobbling around under the impression that all you have to do to be granted citizenship is answer some questions about what to do if you spill someone's pint, and that these tests let in hundreds of thousands of people rather than turn away over 30% of applicants. When the figures including those applying to remain in the country are released, Slack can fudge them to look like more and more people coming to stay in the UK, rather than just extra people being made to take the test. Job done. Good work, Slacky!

No comments: