Time Based British Citizenship – A Thing of the Past?

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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  • Affected

    This article is misleading, stating that : “It has been stated that foreigners residing in the UK will no longer be entitled to gain British passports as a consequence of staying in the UK for up to 5 years, but will now be subject to a new points based system.”

    This is factually incorrect.

    The Home Office opened a consultation for a points based system and has not implemented it. If the consultation is successful and (if) the Government approves the new points based system, the proposed implementation date is "summer 2011".

    “We now propose to bring implementation of this requirement forward to summer 2011.”
    Source: http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/managingborders/managingmigration/earned-citizenship/points-test-citizenship/executive-summary/

    Your article borders on scaremongering – not what I expect from 1stContact. Please update the article stating the facts.

  • http://www.1stcontactvisas.com/ 1st Contact Visas

    Hi Affected,

    Thank you for your enquiry regarding the impending changes to obtaining British citizenship.

    The Borders, Immigration and Citizenship Bill was introduced to parliament on 14/01/2009, and gained Royal Assent on 21/07/2009. Essentially, it states that migrants must ‘earn’ their citizenship of the United Kingdom, including all the benefits this bestows.

    The Bill calls for migrants to spend up to 3 years as probationary citizens on completion of their temporary visa qualifying period, before being eligible for full citizenship. Only once a migrant obtains full citizenship will they be eligible for a UK passport.

    As the Bill has only recently been passed by parliament, 1st Contact is unable to speculate any further in relation to the implementation date. The Bill is currently out for public and political consultation, specifically in regards to the possible points-based system (PBS) for citizenship. We apologise if this was not clear in our article.

    One area of concern that was alleviated and confirmed by Borders and Immigration minister Phil Woolas in the final seating of parliamentary debate is that there will be transitional arrangements in place for migrants already part-way through the process. Effectively, those who hold Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) or whom make their application for ILR prior to July 2011 will not be subjected to the earned citizenship regime for up to two (2) years after the implementation date.

    We will continue to keep abreast of any amendments and updates to the law and policy, which will be reflected and posted on our website and in our eNewsletter.

  • Concerned

    So arriving in November 2007 on 5 year ancestary visa means that we will fall to the hands of this new legislation?

  • Debbie

    Hi, does this mean that on an SA ancestral visa I have to wait 5 years before I can apply for ILR instead of 4 years….i arrived here on the 5/5/6?

  • http://www.1stcontactvisas.com/ 1st Contact Visas

    Hi Concerned,

    As you would not qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) by the proposed July 2011 cut-off under the transitional arrangements, it is highly likely that you will fall into the new earned citizenship regime.

  • http://www.1stcontactvisas.com/ 1st Contact Visas

    Hi Debbie,

    The Government raised the qualifying period for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) for many employment category visas (such as Ancestry and Work Permits) from 4 to 5 years in April 2006. As you arrived in May 2006, you will be required to reside in the UK for 5 years before qualifying for ILR.

  • Chris

    I am british and my wife is nigerian, she was given a three year descretionary leave in august 2005 on the basis outside the immigration rules. she was an overstayer when we got married. We applied for indefinitely leave in July 2008 and we were given another three year descretionary leave. Does this mean my wife’s application will fall in the hands of the new legislation?

  • allan

    hi im a work permit holder and nxt year sept 2011 will be my fifth year here.am i affected of this new law?can i still apply for ilr?

  • candice

    Hi i gained my ILR in may 2009,does this mean that i am affected by this new law?

  • http://1stcontact David Cartwright

    I am a British citizen living in South Africa. I want immigrate to UK with my wife who is South African citizen and passport holder. Her Grandfather was a British citizen born in UK. I have been married to her for 49 years is their any restriction on her immigrating to the UK?