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Time-based British citizenship: A thing of the past?

by 1st Contact | Aug 05, 2009
  • In an attempt to reduce the economic pitfalls experienced in the UK, brought upon by the recession, the UK Home Office have yet again announced another potential regime aimed at tightening British Citizenship law. It has been stated that foreigners residing in the UK may no longer be entitled to gain British passports as a consequence of staying in the UK for up to 5 years, but may be subject to a new points based system. The Home Office (UKBA) has opened a consultation for a points based system that has not been implemented as of yet. Following the results of this consultation process, and if the UK government approves the new points based system, the proposed implementation date has been set for summer 2011.

    In an attempt to push the boundaries in regulating and controlling UK Immigration law, the Home Office are of the belief that foreigners need to earn the right to attain a British passports. This can be achieved through their performance against predetermined criteria or points rather than automatically being granted British citizenship for remaining in the UK for a period of time together with keeping their criminal records clear.

    In a recently published article featured in the Guardian, a senior Home Office representative was quoted “We are going to be tougher about people becoming citizens. There won’t be an automatic right any longer, and the link between work and citizenship is effectively broken”.

    Another Home Office spokesperson said “The points-based system has already proved to be a powerful tool for controlling migration for the benefit of both British people and the economy.”

    “There won’t be an automatic right any longer, and the link between work and citizenship is effectively broken…”

    According to research compiled by the Home Office last year, there has been an 8% rise in applications for British citizenship with more than 160,000 applications received in 2007 alone. The most common nationalities applying for permanent residency in the UK include: Indians, Filipinos, Afghans and South Africans.

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