The following facts are taken from a recent article in the Guardian by Sonia Sodha.
- The fee for obtaining citizenship for a child born in the UK to parents "not settled" here is over £1 000 (The Home office makes a profit of £640 on each case).
- If they don't obtain this such children, when they grow up, may not be entitled to work, use the NHS or:go to university (unless they pay "international student" fees, which are astronomically higher, with no student loans).
- For children in care, the fee of £1 000+ must be paid by the Local Authority, which may save money by not applying, waiting until the child is 18 and must fend for her/himself.
- Such children may need evidence, such as their parents' birth certificates - difficult if they are estranged or have otherwise lost contact, which is often the case or they wouldn't be in care.
- Youngsters not born in the UK, but who have spent most of their childhood here, must, once they reach 18, apply for "leave to remain," which lasts for two and a half years and costs £2 000 a time.
- They can't apply for ""indefinite leave" until after ten years. If they have missed out on any of the applications (there are no reminders) they go back to square one.
- Legal Aid for help with disputes in these complicated processes has been abolished, so loan-shark style "lawyers" have evolved to fill the gap.
- Once upon a time recollection of a childhood memory of an event in the UK, or a sworn statement from a doctor or neighbour, would have been accepted as evidence of long-term residence. Today four pieces of documentary evidence FOR EACH YEAR (my emphasis) are now required.
- According to the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, the Home Office often claims that documents he been lost, or never received.
- A simple mistake on a complex and lengthy document can result in the rejection of an application. (I'm fully aware of the ease with which such errors can be made as I sometimes input my bank's sort code, 30/90/57, instead of my date of birth, which has similar figures, but in a different order (cf Morecambe and Wise and the notes of the music.)
- Evidence of "good character" may be required. A caution by the police (not unusual for children who have been in care or had difficult childhoods) or a previous rejection for minor errors, can result in rejection.
- The Right of Appeal has been scrapped in most cases (though when there are or have been appeals, around a half are successful.)
And it should not be forgotten that our Prime Minister, Mrs May, who flaunts her church-going every weekend, it seems, was in charge of it for six years.