Stricter Rules for Attaining British Citizenship
The Government has recently issued amended policy regarding the meaning of “good character” for the purpose of granting British Citizenship. For many years it has been a requirement of the law that to be granted British Citizenship, one must be of good character. A person will normally not be considered to be of good character if there is information to suggest:
- They have not respected or are prepared to abide by the law;
- They have been involved in war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide or terrorism;
- Their financial affairs are not in appropriate order;
- They have deliberately been dishonest or deceptive in their dealings with the UK Government;
- They have assisted in the evasion of immigration control; and/or
- They have previously been deprived of citizenship.
What equates to good character has recently been changed. New policy penalizes people who have breached immigration law in the past, such that: “In circumstances where an applicant entered the UK illegally, an application for citizenship should normally be refused for a period of 10 years from the date of entry, if it is known. If it is not known, the period of 10 years starts from the date on which the person first brought themselves to or came to the attention of the Home Office”.
This will still apply to those who have, for example, been trafficked into the UK or brought in against their will. This has the potential to create quite a backlash as it will negate the rights of those who acted, in many circumstances, against their own freewill. Whether the new policy revisions will work in practice is yet to be seen – we foresee there being some further amendments made in due course.