Clause 8 - Requirements for naturalisation etc.

Part of Nationality and Borders Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:45 pm on 19 October 2021.

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Photo of Stuart McDonald Stuart McDonald Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Home Affairs) 3:45, 19 October 2021

I want to pick up on one thing the shadow Minister mentioned in his speech. He is right that the most profound implications of the clause relate to the correction of wrongs that were done to the Windrush generation, but I slightly disagree with him when he says that it would not have been necessary but for that.

Certain nationality applications always have caused some awkwardness. In the dim and distant past, when I was one of these wicked immigration lawyers, I would have people come to me who were applying to register, and the requirement that they had been in the country five years ago at the start of the residency period would sometimes cause problems. I do not know what I was doing five years ago today, and sometimes it would require a hell of a lot of checking to work it out.

There were the odd occasions where the Home Office kindly returned the applications, because it was going to have to refuse them as the person had perhaps gone abroad for a couple of weeks five years ago. If the Home Office had not done that, it could have just banked the fees and refused the application. The most profound implication is in relation to Windrush, but I think overall that this is a good thing to do anyway and a slightly broader discretion is welcome.