A new counter-extremism strategy being considered by the government has suggested that UK visa applicants could be required to expressly commit to “British values” before being awarded their visa.
The strategy, which was leaked to the Sunday Telegraph, aims to cultivate a “more assertive” stance against extremism by tackling the issue with immigrants and the existing population.
It states: “In the past, there has been a risk that the government sends an ambivalent and dangerous message – that it doesn't really matter if you don't believe in democracy.
“We need to stand up and be more assertive in promoting our values and challenging the extremists who fundamentally oppose them.”
When it comes to UK visa applications, the document suggests that commitment to British values should be made “an integral part of applying for a visa”. It adds that people applying for citizenship in the country should be called upon to “prove adherence to British values and active participation in society”.
In addition to introducing a stronger moral angle to the UK visa application process, the strategy proposes banning people with radical views from working unsupervised with children and imposing penalties on benefit claimants who do not take steps to learn English.
The Sunday Telegraph said that the plans would be felt in job centres, mosques, passport offices and other institutions across the country.
The Home Office itself has declined to comment due to the fact that the document was leaked. However, foreign secretary Philip Hammond said on the BBC's Andrew Marr show that the government is becoming increasingly aware of the forms which terrorism can take, noting that it is not just “those who break the law by committing acts of violence” who cause problems for society.