The UK ‘citizenship process’ subjects immigrants to requirements ostensibly intended to enhance their identification with ‘British values’. Policy-makers suggest the policy will facilitate immigrants’ integration: as they learn about ‘life in the UK’, they will become better able to understand and navigate core institutions. Many external observers, by contrast, believe that the requirements exacerbate immigrants’ marginalization. I use panel data from ‘Understanding Society’ to investigate political participation among non-citizen immigrants at Wave 1, comparing those who became citizens by Wave 6 to those who remained non-citizens. Those who became citizens subsequently reported lower interest in politics, relative to those who remained non-citizens; in addition, they were not more likely to be active in organizations (e.g. political parties and trade unions). These findings reinforce the concerns of critics: the UK citizenship policy appears to do more to alienate new citizens than it does to facilitate their integration in the political sphere.
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