At the moment they have to take the test when applying to become British citizens but it has been moved to earlier in the process.
EU nationals will, as at present, have to pass the citizenship test only if they wish to naturalise as British citizens. The test, costing £50, is administered by Highlands College on behalf of the Customs and Immigration Service.
Immigration and nationality director John Noel said that the change followed a similar move by the UK immigration authorities in April.
He said that the aim of moving the requirement to take the test earlier was to encourage people wanting to gain permanent residency status to learn more about the place in which they planned to remain as well as to gain a reasonable standard of English. This was considered to be as important as when seeking to become a British citizen.