The Finnish Immigration Service is looking into the possibility of introducing a citizenship test in Finland.
According to a report in the Turun Sanomat daily, immigrants applying for Finnish citizenship would have to pass the test before being granted the right to a Finnish passport. Officials say the results would also help them evaluate the effectiveness of integration programmes.
The possibility of administering such a screening procedure has not previously been investigated in Finland. Other European countries currently apply some kind of test to citizenship applicants.
However Jorma Vuorio, Chief Immigration Director, said the test would not ease the backlog in citizenship applications, since other conditions must be met by applicants before citizenship can be granted. These prerequisites include a clean police record, residence of a certain duration and adequate proficiency in the Finnish language. Vuorio added that a compulsory language test could be part of the citizenship screening.
This year citizenship requests grew by four percent, with immigration authorities receiving about 1,500 applications at the beginning of the year.