Part of Exiting the European Union (Transport) – in the House of Commons at 2:05 pm on 23rd July 2019.

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Photo of Afzal Khan Afzal Khan Shadow Minister (Home Office) (Immigration) 2:05 pm, 23rd July 2019

I agree with my hon. Friend. Denying someone their right to citizenship of the only country they have ever known is a heinous overreaction to a policy caution, especially for children as young as 10.

Concerns remain about citizenship, most prominently in relation to cost and access to legal aid. The JCHR recommended that the Home Office should not charge an application fee to those who have previously been discriminated against. Can the Minister confirm that that is the Government’s intention? When we can expect that to be made clear in legislation? The Government are making a profit on fees charged to children who are registering their right to British citizenship, and those who cannot afford the fee will effectively be denied their right to citizenship. We believe that that is wrong. Will the Minister set the fee for citizenship at cost price, and will she make sure that full fee waivers are available to any child who cannot afford the fee?

As we approach the deadline for EU settled status, there will be a number of children in local authority care who will need to be registered. That brings into sharp relief how little we know about the immigration status of children in care of the state. Many children will be entitled to citizenship, but not aware of it. What steps is the Minister taking to work with local authorities to identify those children with insecure immigration status, and ensure they receive proper legal advice?