19 November 2009
Proposed changes to British Citizenship
The Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009 has seen the introduction of the concept of “earned citizenship”.
Last year the UK Government introduced the points-based system for those applying for a UK Visa, and now the Home Office hopes to extend the principle of earning points to the process of gaining British Citizenship.
The Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009 sets out the framework for the new UK immigration process towards earned citizenship, which comprises of three key stages: temporary residence, probationary citizenship, citizenship or permanent residence.
At present, foreign nationals who have been in the UK under an employment visa can generally naturalise as British citizens after living in the UK for six years.
There are certain other requirements, such as not being absent from the UK for more than 450 days over the previous 5 years and 90 days in the year before applying and having passed either the Life in the UK test or the English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) test.
The reforms under the new act will remove the current system of naturalising solely by virtue of time spent in the UK in a particular category, replacing it with a system of gaining citizenship through earning points.
The Government proposes bringing the new arrangements into effect in July 2011.
The UK Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in UK Visa and UK Work Permit applications, the first step towards British Citizenship.