Earned Citizenship

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Prime Minister – in the House of Commons at 12:31 pm on 20th February 2008.

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Photo of Jacqui Smith Jacqui Smith Home Secretary 12:31 pm, 20th February 2008

My right hon. Friend will know, as I have spelt out, that the proposals are built on our contact with communities around the country and our listening to them. Communities and people in the UK have already told us clearly that they can see the massive benefits of migration. They want people to come to this country, they want them to reach the stage of receiving the full benefits of citizenship and they believe that the process for doing that should be fair and should reflect the sorts of expectations that we would place on ourselves, which are precisely the reasons people want to come to the UK and gain British citizenship in the first place. We have designed the system as we have to build on those issues and concerns.

In respect of the details of the fund, what we are proposing is not a massively bureaucratic system; rather, we are proposing a small premium on fees that will be paid as part of the existing system. My right hon. Friend made the point about good works. Our proposals recognise the massive contribution that many people who come to this country and want to move through to obtaining British citizenship make. We are saying to people that if they make a contribution to building a better local community and a better Britain, that should help to speed them on their way to British citizenship and cement the contribution that they are making to the country.