That's what they're doing over here in the U.K. On Monday, Immigration Minister Phil Woolas unveiled a controversial new government proposal calling for a points-based test for all immigrants wishing to become British citizens.
Like several other countries including Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, the U.K. has had a points-based system in place since 2003. But once immigrants had been working legally in Britain for five years, it was relatively easy for them to qualify for citizenship.
The new proposal, in contrast, dramatically ramps up the qualifications to become a British citizen. On the "positive side," immigrants can be given points for things like English language ability, earnings potential, volunteering, special artistic or scientific merit, and residence in parts of the U.K. experiencing population decline, such as Scotland.
On the "negative side," you can have points deducted for "unBritish behavior," including participating in an antiwar march or having a history of "antisocial" behavior, even if it didn't result in a conviction. Immigrants also face being sent on compulsory "orientation days" where they will be taught British values, social norms and customs -- and be charged fees to do so.
New rules will also double the period for which foreigners have to work in the U.K. before becoming eligible from five to ten years.
Not surprisingly, the proposal has generated a lot of heat, most of it negative. Some worry about the limits on freedom of expression, which many see as a key attribute of being British. "It is paradoxical to suggest that migrants could be prevented from acquiring citizenship for engaging in behavior that British citizens take for granted," wrote one columnist in the Guardian.