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Foreign Languages banned for Immigrants taking UK Driving Theory and Practical Tests

The DVLA is to ban foreign nationals in the UK from taking a UK driving theory or practical test amid growing evidence of cheating and the submission of fraudulent documents.

Theory tests are currently translated into 21 languages, however under the new rules 19 of those languages will be abolished. Translators for practical driving tests will also be removed.

A Government statement read: As well as tackling fraud and preventing unsafe drivers from taking to Britain’s roads, the move to end foreign translations and translators will increase ‘social cohesion and integration’ in Britain and cut costs.”

Currently, around 145,000 UK theory tests and practical driving tests are taken annually in languages outside English and Welsh. Around 2,700 tests take place per week in languages ranging from Urdu to Albanian.

Out of the 145,000 tests, 108,374 were for the Driving Theory Test and 35,000 were for the practical driving test. Data also highlights that many candidates had to retake a test.

The move to outlaw tests being carried out in ‘non-national languages’ comes amid growing concern that candidates are using ‘dishonest’ means to pass the test.

Statistics show that since 2009 at least 861 people have had driving theory test certificates rescinded due to ‘coaching’ tactics taking place whilst a candidate’s theory test was taking place.

It has also emerged that nine DSA-approved interpreters were dismissed from employment for their involvement in fraudulent activity.

Besides cheating taking place during tests, Government ministers have also voiced concerns over road safety. In particular, they are worried that non-English speaking immigrants will be unable to read road signs, putting themselves and the public at risk.

In a statement from Road Safety Minister, Stephen Hammond, he said: “In reference to the cheating, we have uncovered that during theory tests interpreters have been indicating answers to candidates in languages that test invigilators are unable to understand.”

He continued: “In terms of road safety, there is a potential road safety risk of drivers not understanding important traffic updates or emergency information, but allowing interpreters on tests also presents the risk of fraud, for example if they are indicating the correct answers to theory test questions that’s fraudulent, but the candidate is also not learning key road information.”

Mr Hammond concluded: “The move will also help to enhance social cohesion and to encourage integration in society by learning the national language. We want to ensure that all drivers have the right skills to use our roads safely and responsibly. We also want to keep test fees to a minimum for candidates, and I am not convinced that providing translations is the most effective use of resources.”

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