U.K. unveils plans for immigration points system

New rules mean it could take 10 years before foreigners eligible for citizenship

A proposed points-based system for immigration in the United Kingdom would require would-be migrants to earn points toward their British citizenship.

Points would be granted based on skills, job experience and qualifications and be deducted for "bad behaviour," said Home Secretary Alan Johnson before the launch of a consultation on the new citizenship proposals.

The points-based system would give the government greater control over those permitted to permanently settle in the U.K., allowing the requirements to be raised or lowered depending on the nation's needs.

Previously, foreigners could fairly easily obtain British nationality after five years of working in the country as long as they paid taxes, learned to speak English and kept a clean criminal record.

But the new rules mean it could take as long as 10 years before potential migrants become eligible.

Last year the government introduced a points-based system, based on the skills required by the British economy, for would-be migrants from outside the European Union.

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