Nationality

Part of Exiting the European Union (Transport) – in the House of Commons at 2:13 pm on 23rd July 2019.

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Photo of Caroline Nokes Caroline Nokes The Minister for Immigration 2:13 pm, 23rd July 2019

I was just moving on to that particular point. The Government do not believe that the good character requirement for children is at odds with the statutory obligation in section 55 of the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009, but I want to make very clear that having a criminal conviction does not necessarily mean an application for citizenship is automatically refused, particularly in the case of minor offences attracting an out-of-court disposal, for example, as the hon. Gentleman mentioned, a youth caution. Each case is considered on its individual merits and guidance for caseworkers makes it clear where discretion can be exercised.

On British overseas territories, we are very proud of our heritage in Britain and this pride extends to many people around the world who identify as British. The JCHR expressed concerns that the discriminatory provisions that this remedial order seeks to remedy will still apply to British overseas territories citizens. Regrettably, this is true. When changes to nationality legislation were made, they were introduced at a very late stage in the parliamentary process and there was no time to consult fully with the territories about introducing similar provisions for British overseas territories citizens’ status. It would not have been right to introduce legislation that would affect the territories, and potentially the status of those living there, without consultation. We recognise the difficulties that the British Nationality Act still presents for some British overseas territories citizens, who may wish to pass on their citizenship to their children and are considering how best to address those concerns, taking into account the opportunities for doing so. I commend the order to the House.

Question put and agreed to.