The “Life in the UK” citizenship test – is cheating a wise move?

By Vishal Makol, senior solicitor at OTS Solicitors 
 
This week a BBC London investigation reportedly uncovered organised cheating on the “Life in the UK” test. Top London immigration solicitors refer to the test as the citizenship test. The test has to be taken by migrants applying for settlement or British citizenship
 
A BBC reporter exposed the cheats. For a reported fee of up to £2,000, the BBC journalist learnt that a “consultant” would provide the answers to the Life in the UK test to an exam candidate using a hidden earpiece. 
 
Why pay up to £2,000 to guarantee passing the Citizenship test? In the news report, some applicants said fear of Brexit and their Immigration status had encouraged them to cheat. Over the past twelve months, about 150,000 people have sat the Life in the UK test, as it is a prerequisite to applying for British citizenship. Figures show that EU citizens applying for British citizenship have risen by 32% over the same period as EU citizens get “Brexit ready”. 
 
For others, the statistics might have encouraged cheating as reportedly one in four applicants fail the test. The multi-choice test is carried out in a test centre under what are meant to be strict exam conditions. However, this is not the first time cheating has been exposed. Back in 2014, the media reported on cases of migrants buying a pass for the English language test at a cost of £500 per certificate. Many people are therefore sceptical of the effectiveness of the Life in the UK test and the British citizenship application process.
 
Top London immigration solicitors advise that the Life in the UK test will ask questions on British history, the constitution, art, and British culture. In response to the BBC expose reporters were sent out on the streets of London to ask random passers-by questions contained in Life in the UK test. Not surprisingly many did not know the answer to questions such as “when did eighteen-year olds get the right to vote in the UK”.  I have to confess that I did not know the answer to that question, without first googling the correct reply.
 
So is cheating on the Life in the UK test a wise move? The best London immigration solicitors will tell you “definitely not”. You may not like the twenty-five percent failure rate for the Citizenship test, but if you are caught cheating on the test, the Immigration consequences for you and your family could be devastating.
 
How can OTS Solicitors help? 
 
OTS Solicitors are London based specialists in Immigration law matters. The firm is recommended for Immigration law in the Legal 500. OTS Solicitors have Law Society accredited solicitors status as trusted specialists in Immigration law
 
For advice on the Life in the UK test and British citizenship and naturalisation applications or for advice on allegations of deception and the removal of British citizenship please call us on 0203 959 9123 to arrange an appointment to speak to one of our experienced London immigration solicitors who will be happy to help.
 
The British citizenship handbook
 
The best London immigration solicitors recommend the use of the British citizenship handbook. This book contains the information an applicant needs to pass the Life in the UK test. 
 
The British citizenship handbook contains sample questions and answers to help you pass the test as well as study guides. Investing in the handbook is a far wiser move than trying to cheat on the Life in the UK test.
 
Failing the Life in the UK test
 
Many of those who are said to have paid £2,000 to cheat on the Citizenship test said they had done so as they feared they would fail the test. Top London immigration solicitors will tell you that it does not matter if you fail the test as you can re take the Life in the UK test as many times as you need to. The current fee for the test is £50. The test fee is payable each time you take the test so that is why, according to the best London immigration solicitors, it pays to study for the test. 
 
Consequences of cheating on the Life in the UK test
 
If the Home Office decides that a migrant has cheated on the Life in the UK test, the consequences could be devastating. That is because one of the grounds for removing British citizenship is if deception has occurred. Cheating on a test is undoubtedly deception.
 
There is case law to support the statement that cheating on a Life in the UK test is classed as deception. When cheating was discovered on English language pass certificates a case went to the court of appeal to determine if the false English pass certificate was deception. The court , in a case called Ahsan v Secretary of State for the Home Department (Rev 1) [2017] EWCA Civ 2009, said an English language test result obtained by cheating was deception. Accordingly, the best London immigration solicitors are confident that the court would say that cheating on the Life in the UK test is also a clear case of deception.
 
You may think that one way around having to take the test is for a substitute to take the test for you. The testing centres require evidence of identity of the person sitting the exam to avoid substitutes sitting the test. However, if someone impersonates an applicant on the Life in the UK test the Home Office could use a process known as nullification to remove British citizenship status from the applicant. 
 
How can OTS Solicitors help?
 
OTS Solicitors are specialist in Immigration law matters. The firm is recommended for Immigration law in the Legal 500. OTS Solicitors have Law Society accredited solicitors status as trusted specialists in Immigration law.
 
For more information on the Life in the UK test, British citizenship or naturalisation, then please contact us. If you are facing a challenge to your British citizenship application or to your Immigration status from the Home Office, then OTS Solicitors can help. Call us on 0203 959 9123 to arrange an appointment to speak to one of our experienced London immigration solicitors who will be happy to help you.
 

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