Thursday, January 15, 2009

Tougher rules to gain British citizenship

Immigrants who want to become British will need to pass more tests to prove their worth under citizenship plans. The Home Office bill will make foreign nationals go through a period of probation, including learning English. Foreign nationals waiting to become British will not be eligible for some benefits and will face a wait of up to 10 years to become citizens. Prospective British citizens would need to have lived and worked in the UK for at least five years and then spend at least one "probationary" year proving their worth. (link via BBC News) Strengthening the rules for citizenship: Home Office The Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Bill changes the rules for aspiring citizens, requiring hard work and rewarding volunteerism. The bill makes the process of attaining British citizenship longer and more difficult. It would require all immigrants who wish to gain British citizenship to learn to speak English, and to obey the law. But it would also speed up the citizenship process for those who contribute to the community through hard work and volunteerism. In addition, the bill would: remedy the situation whereby a father of a child born abroad before 1961 can pass on his British nationality while a mother cannot While I can understand the concern for foreigners living in Britain finding out they will have to wait longer to be granted citizenship under these government proposals, I'm personally very annoyed that the last part of the bill hasn't already been put through parliament. My mother is English but I was born before 1961 so I am obviously keen for this bill to be approved so that I can claim British citizenship (which I'm entitled to!). What are your thoughts about the Borders, Immigration and Citizenship Bill? Do you think it's a good idea to make it tougher for immigrants to become British citizens? Are you a foreigner living in the UK? Are you considering becoming a citizen? It's been reported that Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, wants every migrant looking to settle in the UK to apply for citizenship. I wonder if this might put migrants off coming to the UK. What do you think? Related posts from my blog: Children of British mothers: proposed changes to citizenship law! Borders, Immigration and Citizenship Bill: Children of British mothers (be sure and read all the comments about this issue - it helps to know there are others in the same situation and we can offer support and advice to each other - and feel free to add your own comments) Related link from the web: UK Border Agency: British citizenship (how you can apply for British citizenship)

12 comments:

  1. I would have thought that learning to speak English and obeying the law should have already been requirements for becoming a British citizen!

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  2. I was surprised by that part of the bill too, flighty. As it is now, applicants have to prove they can speak English by taking the Life in the UK Test or by taking combined English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and citizenship classes. And I just assumed they did police checks on everyone applying for naturalisation as a British citizen.

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  3. We have always been fairly relaxed about citizenship. Eire citizens have always been able to come and settle in the UK, participate in the democratic process of voting and still never become UK citizens.

    Its only in the last few years when various incomers have started to demand that we change our ways of doing things and accommodate their way of doing things and wanting to change laws to suit their particular situations and impose them on us, that councils and the NHS and other institutions have now to print in so many languages, that courts have to use interpreters more and more and more tiny little infringements have now been brought to the forefront that we have 'sort of got annoyed a bit' - the English are inherently 'oh let them get on with it' - but when pushed too hard - get very annoyed and lash out. An angry Englishman is not a pretty sight.

    mavru

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  4. You've made some very good points. I know that immigration is a very hot topic right now and I can certainly understand your view.

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  5. Hiya. I just found your blog.
    Can you explain this bit to me a little more:

    remedy the situation whereby a father of a child born abroad before 1961 can pass on his British nationality while a mother cannot

    My son was born in America to a British father in 1991. I'm curious about how the rules have changed. You can email me personally if you like. Cheers!

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  6. Hi Melissa! The law about citizenship by descent is unfair as it stands because up until 2002 if you had a British father, you got a right to citizenship, but not if you had a British mother. In 2002, they changed that law, but only backdated it to 1961. At present, only children born on or after 1st January 1983 can automatically be British solely because of their mother's birth in the UK.

    The Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Bill has a section to "remedy the situation whereby a father of a child born abroad before 1961 can pass on his British nationality while a mother cannot."

    The bill won't be changing a British father's right to pass on British citizenship.

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  7. British citizen since birth(born there), i have no worries!

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  8. Could I please have some comments. A boy and a girl were born to a Filipina mother in the Philippines in nove 1990 and August 1985. Their father is British as has been attested on their Nationsl Statistics Office Birth Certificates. Can they claim British cirizen ship ot not. What is in question is if the marriage of their parents was legal as the ceremony was abroad in Palau Micronesia. Any thoughts please? They are at present in the Philippines and their father is in the UK. Their parents are estranged.

    Email if wanted is Skypilot1938@yahoo.co.uk

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  9. I'm really not an expert so I recommend this official link which provides information about British citizenship and other forms of British nationality:

    http://www.bia.homeoffice.gov.uk/britishcitizenship/

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  10. hi can my 6 years old daughter become bristish citizen even we are not married of her biological father but she's born in the philippines?

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  11. I think the United State might benefit by tougher rules to gain citizenship. The current situation where birth in the United States automatically confers U.S. citizenship is outdated. U.S. nationality laws should copy the British Nationality Act 1981 and confer citizenship automatically only on those with a citizen parent or a legally settled parent.

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  12. re: daughter born in the Philippines, you should check with the Home Office which provides information about British citizenship and other forms of British nationality via this link:

    http://www.bia.homeoffice.gov.uk/britishcitizenship/

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