News story

British culture and history at heart of new Life in the UK test

An updated Life in the UK test handbook that focuses on British culture and history will be released tomorrow.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The new book is essential reading for candidates sitting the revised Life in the UK test, which is being introduced in March.

The new handbook and test are part of the government’s reforms to the immigration system to help reduce net migration to sustainable levels while ensuring that Britain continues to attract the brightest and the best migrants from across the world.

Life in the UK

The Life in the UK test is taken by migrants wanting to settle permanently in the UK who already speak English to a sufficient standard.
The test and handbook have been completely re-written, removing questions on topics that those living in the UK should already be aware of like public transport, credit cards and job interviews. Instead it focuses on British culture, history and traditions as well as the events and people who have helped make Britain a great place to live. 

Minister for Immigration Mark Harper said: ‘We’ve stripped out mundane information about water meters, how to find train timetables, and using the internet. The new book rightly focuses on values and principles at the heart of being British. Instead of telling people how to claim benefits it encourages participation in British life.


‘We have made radical changes to the immigration system and are determined to reduce net migration from the hundred of thousands into the tens of thousands by the end of the Parliament. The latest figures show these reforms are working, with net migration falling by a quarter in the last year.’

In the past, historical information was included in the book but was not tested, meaning that migrants did not have to show they had an understanding of how modern Britain has evolved. The new book and test will focus on events and people who have contributed to making Britain great.

This includes writers like William Shakespeare and Robert Burns, the great scientists Isaac Newton and Alexander Fleming, engineers and industrialists like Isambard Kingdom Brunel and Richard Arkwright and politicians including Winston Churchill and Clement Attlee.  

Published 27 January 2013