Refugees: British Nationality

Home Office written question – answered on 8th January 2018.

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Photo of Gareth Thomas Gareth Thomas Party Chair, Co-operative Party

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment he has made of the effect of nationalisation fees on the UK's obligations under Article 32 of the 1954 convention to facilitate the applications for British citizenship for stateless persons.

Photo of Amber Rudd Amber Rudd The Secretary of State for the Home Department

An impact assessment was completed in early 2016 which considered the changes being made as part of the Immigration and Nationality Fees Order (2016), the details of which can be found via the following link:

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukia/2016/33/pdfs/ukia_20160033_en.pdf

We believe the current policy which requires payment of a fee for all applications for British Citizenship, meets our international obligations.

Article 32 does not prohibit charging fees to stateless individuals. The current cost of limited and indefinite leave to remain for those who enter the UK on a five-year route to settlement is approximately £4,750. We feel that waiving these fees for stateless individuals up to the point of settlement, but requiring a fee upon becoming a British citizen is fair.

Taking this approach does not mean that the entitlement to apply for citizenship is lost, but rather deferred, until the fee is affordable. Our current approach allows us to fulfil our convention obligations whilst reducing the burden on the UK taxpayer; therefore striking the right balance for all.

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