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Language tests for new citizens 'just one option being considered'

“Any such change would be driven by a strategy to better integrate our newest citizens.”

Image: Leon Farrell/RollingNews.ie

A LANGUAGE TEST for would-be Irish citizens is just one option being looked at by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS).

The Department of Justice was today responding to queries after a senior official said that language tests would help fight the lack of English that some potential citizens have.

The Irish Times reports that assistant principal at the Department Raymond Murray made the comments yesterday as more than 3,500 people from 160 took Irish citizenship.

In a statement to TheJournal.ie, the Department said that the tests were being considered, but did not say what form they might take.

“INIS is responsible for administering the functions of the Minister for Justice and Equality in relation to asylum, immigration (including visas) and citizenship matters.

“As part of that work, it considers immigration trends and from time to time reviews the criteria for Irish citizenship with a view to making recommendations to the Minister for Justice and Equality.

“In this context, INIS is examining language tests as just one option that is being considered. Consideration is at a very early stage and no proposal has been brought to the Minister or to Government. There would be a consultation process before any changes of this nature are introduced.

“Any such change would be driven by a strategy to better integrate our newest citizens.”

The Department says that the Government Integration Strategy will be implemented in full, with help from a two-year integration research programme to monitor migrant integration in employment, education, social inclusion and active citizenship.

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