Immigrants who seek British citizenship will have to take lessons in tolerance

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Immigrants wish to become British citizens will have to take courses in modern family life and be taught about tolerance of different ethnic groups, unmarried couples and homosexuals.

Immigrants wish to become British citizens will have to take courses in modern family life and be taught about tolerance of different ethnic groups, unmarried couples and homosexuals.

A team of experts appointed by David Blunkett, the Home Secretary, to devise a "Britishness" course has decided that it should explain how Britain has changed since the 1950s and portray the UK as a multicultural, democratic and tolerant society.

All immigrants, including those who have arrived with a work permit, will be presented with a booklet translated into several languages about "How to live in the UK".

A Whitehall source said: "They will be given a snapshot of British society including different ethnic and religious groups. They [the experts] are talking about changing perceptions of family life and that it's different from life lived elsewhere and that it is different from Britain in the 1950s. It's not saying this is a good or bad way of doing things, it's just how things are here."

The asylum-seekers are likely to be told that in Britain boys and girls are educated, forced marriages are unacceptable and single mothers, unmarried couples and homosexuals are protected from persecution.

Immigrants will also have to show they understand enough English to function in an "unskilled job", and will be told about the laws they must obey, how to vote, and that they must pay taxes.

The citizenship panel will publish its preliminary conclusions in January and a final report at Easter.

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