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Proposed Changes to UK Nationality Law

The government is planning on introducing several changes in the Immigration Law and many proposals are laid out in this regard. The proposals will be debated on the relevant platforms and then the decision will be made accordingly. In this article, we will discuss some of the proposed changes and how it is going for people who want to submit an application for British Nationality or to those who were previously denied British Nationality. If you want further information regarding the immigration laws and permanent settlement laws of the UK then contact ILR lawyer.

British Overseas Territories Citizenship

In the past, the British Citizenship and Colonies (CUKC status) of mothers was not passed to the child if the child was born outside of the UK. It started showing adverse effects when the British Nationality Act 1981 was added to the law. After this law, the children of CUKC fathers who could exercise the right to abode became British Citizens however the children of CUKC mothers were unable to exercise the right to abode and hence were declined British citizenship.

Later Section 4C was incorporated into the 1981 Act to give registration routes to people who were denied British Citizenship because it was inherited from their mother. However, due to restrictions in the same law, the mother who had a British Overseas Territories Citizenship (BOTC) could not pass their status forward to their child and section 4C could not assist them in any way. The issue of this gender discrimination is still there and it not only restricts the children to get the BOTC status of their mother but they are unable to exercise their rights mentioned in section 3 of the British Overseas Territories Act 2002. According to this section, anyone who had British Nationality along with their BOTC’s status on 21 May 2002 will automatically be given British Citizenship.

What the proposal entails
The proposal that would be debated is to give the children of BOTC mothers similar rights regarding getting British Citizenship that is given to a child born to British National mothers in section 4C of the 1981 Act. This proposal is not only given to eliminate the element of gender discrimination but also to allow children of BOTCs who are eligible to get the rights mentioned in section 3 of the British Overseas Territories Act 2002 by allowing them to become BOTCs and British citizens.

Discretionary adult registration route

While section 3 of the 1981 Act provides a special opportunity for children born anywhere in the world to British Citizen mothers to become British Citizens but there was no such option for adults.

Proposed change
It has been proposed that a similar discretionary adult registration route be introduced. The proposal is introduced hoping that it will allow the Secretary of State, in cases where feasible, to decide with a more pragmatic approach that will prevent an individual from having his life upended while there is no public interest related to the matter.

Naturalisation for Windrush victims

When the Immigration Act 1971 was introduced and implemented, mostly members of Windrush generations were not considered eligible for getting rights to stay and settle in the UK without any immigration status restrictions. There was no official record of people who were able to get ILR as a result of the implementation of the 1971 Act and people were also not provided any document as evidence that they could use to prove their status in the UK. Consequently, when some people from those who acquired ILR travel to some other country due to any reason were wrongfully denied entry in the UK again and they were forced to spend several years abroad.

In May 2018 a Windrush Scheme was introduced to provide people with the opportunity to get evidence documents that they could use to prove their status in the UK and also offered them a fast-track (and free) route to get British citizenship to those who meet the criteria mentioned in the law. Also, people who were forced to live abroad for several years were allowed to apply to return to the UK as returning residents and also allowed to apply to seek ILR when they return to the UK. The issue that remains was that it did not give the returning people the immediate entitlement to British citizenship.

Proposed change
The change proposed is to allow the Secretary of State to ignore the requirements of residence that also include the five-year requirement, for people who were not able to stay in the UK due to administrative issues. The complete details regarding the amendment that might be made and the extent of its power are still unknown but would be welcomed by a great number of people if the power was allowed to be exercised for the returning residents who returned as per Windrush Scheme. Total Law has many expert immigration lawyers who can help you understand the complex immigration system and get you through the complicated process to get the desired results. Contact us now for expert legal assistance.

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