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Home office to bring new UK citizenship testing centre to Aberdeen ‘by end of year’

Mark McDonald MSP at Woodside Burgh Hall
Mark McDonald MSP at Woodside Burgh Hall

Home Office bosses have pledged to bring a new UK citizenship testing centre to Aberdeen by the end of the year.

The government body announced the plans last May and pressure has since been mounting on chiefs to confirm arrangements for the facility, which will allow foreign-born residents to take the test required for British citizenship.

There are 39 test centres across the UK – but only two in Scotland, which are located in Glasgow and Edinburgh after a previous site in Aberdeen was withdrawn in 2015.

The removal of the north-east centre has resulted in long journeys and overnight stays in hotels for people from the northern half of the country looking to sit the test.

Finding a company to provide the tests in the city was a difficulty for the Home Office, which had previously invited bids.

Now a provider has been found, but it remains unclear where the centre will be located.

Last night a Home Office spokeswoman would confirm only that an Aberdeen centre was “expected” by the end of this year.


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She said: “The Life in the UK test provider, PSI Services, expects to open a test centre in Aberdeen by the end of 2019.”

Independent Aberdeen Donside MSP, Mark McDonald, called on the new home secretary Priti Patel to treat the opening of the new facility as a priority.

He said: “Given that many of my constituents are being forced to go through the citizenship route due to the approach to Brexit of the UK Government, it is vital that they are able to access a centre that is convenient to them.

“The new home secretary needs to get a grip of this as a priority.”

SNP MSP for Aberdeen Central, Kevin Stewart, hit out at delays to the centre earlier this year.

In an email to the politician last February, the Home Office told him that “the regular monitoring of demand” had “highlighted a need for provision in the Aberdeen area”.

The test itself poses 24 questions on a range of topics about Britain and requires those sitting it to answer at least 18 correctly.

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