Language tests begin after new Italian law requiring "proof of integration."
MILAN - Italy has introduced a language test for all immigrants seeking a long-term residency permit, questioning the candidates on their knowledge of a few hundred every-day words.
A group of 170 immigrants in Florence and another 10 in the northern town of Asti will be the first to be tested. Over the past decade, immigration has become a major demographic force in Italian life, with some four million foreigners in a country of nearly 60 million.
Massimo Arcangeli, the director of a language institute who helped draft the exam, said the immigrants will have to know Italian "at a level a little above survival" to pass. The test has been drafted in collaboration with the universities of Siena and Perugia, both of which have longstanding courses for foreigners.
"We are talking about a limited number of words, about 200 or 300, all somehow relating to everyday life," Arcangeli said. Knowledge of philosophical or political speak will not be necessary, but the immigrants will be required to know terms related to family, work and how to make purchases and function at a simple level.
Candidates will have to listen to brief spoken sentences and then answer questions showing they have understood. They will also have to write answers related to a brief text and compose their own small text, the equivalent of an email to an employer.
Rome introduced the procedure after a European Union directive allowed member states to request "proof of integration" from immigrants seeking an open-ended permit. Italy passed the measure in June.
Read the original article in Italian