Australia’s recently introduced citizenship test is currently being reviewed by the new Immigration Minister, Senator Chris Evans. Germany is in the process of introducing a similar test, which will operate from Sept 1st. Some of the criticisms of it are similar to those that have been raised here.
This article, reporting on a conference on immigration issues between Germany Turkey, quotes Mustafa Unal, a Turkish MP, and Dieter Oberndorfer, a German Professor of political science, as agreeing “that controversial discourses taken up by politicians have been overplayed in public debate.” Germany has also recently introduced some discriminatory language requirements which look to me like they will force some spouses to say separated. Hard to see how that’s in Germany’s interest.
Regarding the new citizenship test that foreigners are expected to pass to be eligible for a German passport, both Ünal and Oberndörfer argued against it.
After months of work, the Interior Ministry published a test of 310 multiple-choice questions on the Internet two weeks ago. From Sept. 1, applicants will have to take an exam that includes 33 of those questions and answer 17 of them correctly to pass. However, the quiz, which asks questions such as “Who wrote Germany’s national anthem?” “What is the population of Germany” and “Which German institution should you register your dog with?” is already a subject of controversy. It has been criticized for testing attitudes rather than knowledge.
“This test can hardly be answered by a German academic,” Ünal said. Oberndörfer argued, “If our immigrants manage to answer these questions, they are much more knowledgeable citizens than 80 percent of native Germans.”
Both agreed that the real problem of getting the immigrants to really identify with the German society and state will not be solved by such a test. “The real problem lies much deeper, we have to make our country more attractive for our immigrants,” Oberndörfer said.