March 26, 2015

Application to register as a British citizen: Form UKF

The application to register as a British citizen is now up on the UK Visas and Immigration section of the UK government's website.  Although commencement isn't until April 6, this will give you time to prepare in advance and gather all of the required documents together. 

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/application-to-register-as-a-british-citizen-form-ukf 
 
Here is the guide, and you'll need to read this before filling out the application form -

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/417972/Guide_UKF_-_March_2015.pdf 
 
 
 Here is the fee schedule.  Anything that has to do with us is called "UKF" (UK Father).  Those applying will have to pay the ceremony fee of 80GBP. 

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/415145/Master_Fees_Leaflet_2015.pdf

Keep in mind that this application is first for the consideration.  Once they accept and process the application, you will be sent an invitation to attend your citizenship ceremony.  You will have to complete the ceremony in order to get your citizenship and it will have to be completed in three months after receipt of the invitation.  You can arrange to do this locally, in your own country.  You do not have to go to the UK to complete this step. 
 
Once you complete the citizenship ceremony, you will then receive your certificate of registration as a British citizen.  It is with this certificate that you can move forward and apply for your UK passport. 
 
You will have to pass a good character requirement to be considered for registration.  If you have committed any major crimes, this will most likely have an impact on your application. The guide explains this all in detail.


March 10, 2015

Article From IMMIgroup

Thank you to British By Descent, who sent this to me. Here is an interesting article which neatly lays out the various sections of the new citizenship law, and helps to clarify who specifically qualifies to register under each different one.

http://www.immigroup.com/news/get-your-uk-passport-if-your-dad-was-born-uk-new-rules  

March 3, 2015

April 6, 2015 - Commencement of Section 65 of the Immigration Act 2014

From Immigration Minister, James Brokenshire: Also on 6 April 2015 new provisions will come into force that enable children of unmarried British fathers born before 2006 to register as British citizens, correcting a historical anomaly in our nationality law.

Section 65 - Guidance

Here is the UK government's published guidance of who can apply for UK citizenship under Section 65 of the Immigration Act 2014.

It's pretty straightforward and gives details for each of the registration processes.  Please keep in mind that since the amendments were written to cover just about every possible scenario with regards to a child born before 1 July, 2006, to an unmarried British father, you will have to follow the sections that are pertinent to your specific situation. The link to the guidance is in the title below.

Information on how a child can become a British citizen if their father is a British citizen under Section 65 of the Immigration Act 2014.

To give a brief synopsis of all the sections one can apply for citizenship under:

4F - Is for those who could qualify for registration under section 1(3), 3(2), 3(5) or paragraph 4 or 5 of Schedule 2, had their parents been married. 

4G - Is for those born after 1 January 1983 who would have become a British citizen automatically had their parents been married.

4H - Is for those born before 1 January 1983 who were citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies on that date and would have become British citizens if their parents were married.

4I - Is for those born before 1 January 1983 who would have acquired the status of British subject or citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies and would have gone on to become a British citizen if their parents were married.

So far, if you are applying under section 4F, you will need to pay an application fee.  For those who are applying under sections 4G, 4H, and 4I, you will not be paying a registration fee, but you will have to pay a ceremony fee of £80.  I'll keep you updated if this changes.

Immigation Act 2014 - Section 65

Here's a link to the Immigration Act 2014.  We are under Part 6 / Miscellaneous / Citizenship / Section 65.  You can also view and download a PDF file of the Immigration Act 2014.

Persons unable to acquire citizenship: natural father not married to mother

After section 4D of the British Nationality Act 1981 insert—
4E    The general conditions
For the purposes of sections 4F to 4I, a person (“P”) meets the general conditions if—
(a)P was born before 1 July 2006;
(b)at the time of P’s birth, P’s mother—
(i)was not married, or
(ii)was married to a person other than P’s natural father;
(c)no person is treated as the father of P under section 28 of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990; and
(d)P has never been a British citizen.
4F     Person unable to be registered under other provisions of this Act
(1)A person (“P”) is entitled to be registered as a British citizen on an application made under this section if—
(a)P meets the general conditions; and
(b)P would be entitled to be registered as a British citizen under—
(i)section 1(3),
(ii)section 3(2),
(iii)section 3(5),
(iv)paragraph 4 of Schedule 2, or
(v)paragraph 5 of Schedule 2,
had P’s mother been married to P’s natural father at the time of P’s birth.
(2)In the following provisions of this section “relevant registration provision” means the provision under which P would be entitled to be registered as a British citizen (as mentioned in subsection (1)(b)).
(3)If the relevant registration provision is section 3(2), a person who is registered as a British citizen under this section is a British citizen by descent.
(4)If the relevant registration provision is section 3(5), the Secretary of State may, in the special circumstances of the particular case, waive the need for any or all of the parental consents to be given.
(5)For that purpose, the “parental consents” are—
(a)the consent of P’s natural father, and
(b)the consent of P’s mother,
insofar as they would be required by section 3(5)(c) (as read with section 3(6)(b)), had P’s mother been married to P’s natural father at the time of P’s birth.
4G     Person unable to become citizen automatically after commencement
(1)A person (“P”) is entitled to be registered as a British citizen on an application made under this section if—
(a)P meets the general conditions; and
(b)at any time in the period after commencement, P would have automatically become a British citizen at birth by the operation of any provision of this Act or the British Nationality (Falkland Islands) Act 1983, had P’s mother been married to P’s natural father at the time of P’s birth.
(2)A person who is registered as a British citizen under this section is a British citizen by descent if the British citizenship which the person would have acquired at birth (as mentioned in subsection (1)(b)) would (by virtue of section 14) have been British citizenship by descent.
(3)If P is under the age of 18, no application may be made unless the consent of P’s natural father and mother to the registration has been signified in the prescribed manner.
(4)But if P’s natural father or mother has died on or before the date of the application, the reference in subsection (3) to P’s natural father and mother is to be read as a reference to either of them.
(5)The Secretary of State may, in the special circumstances of a particular case, waive the need for any or all of the consents required by subsection (3) (as read with subsection (4)) to be given.
(6)The reference in this section to the period after commencement does not include the time of commencement (and, accordingly, this section does not apply to any case in which a person was unable to become a British citizen at commencement).
4H     Citizen of UK and colonies unable to become citizen at commencement
(1)A person (“P”) is entitled to be registered as a British citizen on an application made under this section if—
(a)P meets the general conditions;
(b)P was a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies immediately before commencement; and
(c)P would have automatically become a British citizen at commencement, by the operation of any provision of this Act, had P’s mother been married to P’s natural father at the time of P’s birth.
(2)A person who is registered as a British citizen under this section is a British citizen by descent if the British citizenship which the person would have acquired at commencement (as mentioned in subsection (1)(c)) would (by virtue of section 14) have been British citizenship by descent.
4I     Other person unable to become citizen at commencement
(1)A person (“P”) is entitled to be registered as a British citizen on an application made under this section if—
(a)P meets the general conditions;
(b)P is either—
(i)an eligible former British national, or
(ii)an eligible non-British national; and
(c)had P’s mother been married to P’s natural father at the time of P’s birth, P—
(i)would have been a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies immediately before commencement, and
(ii)would have automatically become a British citizen at commencement by the operation of any provision of this Act.
(2)P is an “eligible former British national” if P was not a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies immediately before commencement and either—
(a)P ceased to be a British subject or a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies by virtue of the commencement of any independence legislation, but would not have done so had P’s mother been married to P’s natural father at the time of P’s birth, or
(b)P was a British subject who did not automatically become a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies at commencement of the British Nationality Act 1948 by the operation of any provision of it, but would have done so had P’s mother been married to P’s natural father at the time of P’s birth.
(3)P is an “eligible non-British national” if—
(a)P was never a British subject or citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies; and
(b)had P’s mother been married to P’s natural father at the time of P’s birth, P would have automatically become a British subject or citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies—
(i)at birth, or
(ii)by virtue of paragraph 3 of Schedule 3 to the British Nationality Act 1948 (child of male British subject to become citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies if the father becomes such a citizen).
(4)A person who is registered as a British citizen under this section is a British citizen by descent if the British citizenship which the person would have acquired at commencement (as mentioned in subsection (1)(c)(ii)) would (by virtue of section 14) have been British citizenship by descent.
(5)In determining for the purposes of subsection (1)(c)(i) whether P would have been a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies immediately before commencement, it must be assumed that P would not have—
(a)renounced or been deprived of any notional British nationality, or
(b)lost any notional British nationality by virtue of P acquiring the nationality of a country or territory outside the United Kingdom.
(6)A “notional British nationality” is—
(a)in a case where P is an eligible former British national, any status as a British subject or a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies which P would have held at any time after P’s nationality loss (had that loss not occurred and had P’s mother had been married to P’s natural father at the time of P’s birth);
(b)in a case where P is an eligible non-British national—
(i)P’s status as a British subject or citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies mentioned in subsection (3)(b), and
(ii)any other status as a British subject or citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies which P would have held at any time afterwards (had P’s mother been married to P’s natural father at the time of P’s birth).
(7)In this section—
  • “British subject” has any meaning which it had for the purposes of the British Nationality and Status of Aliens Act 1914;
  • “independence legislation” means an Act of Parliament or any subordinate legislation (within the meaning of the Interpretation Act 1978) forming part of the law in the United Kingdom (whenever passed or made, and whether or not still in force)—
    (a)providing for a country or territory to become independent from the United Kingdom, or
    (b)dealing with nationality, or any other ancillary matters, in connection with a country or territory becoming independent from the United Kingdom;
  • “P’s nationality loss” means P’s—
    (a)ceasing to be a British subject or citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies (as mentioned in subsection (2)(a)), or
    (b)not becoming a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies (as mentioned in subsection (2)(b)).
4J     Sections 4E to 4I: supplementary provision
(1)In sections 4E to 4I and this section, a person’s “natural father” is a person who satisfies the requirements as to proof of paternity that are prescribed in regulations under section 50(9B).
(2)The power under section 50(9B) to make different provision for different circumstances includes power to make provision for the purposes of any provision of sections 4E to 4I which is different from other provision made under section 50(9B).
(3)The following provisions apply for the purposes of sections 4E to 4I.
(4)A reference to a person automatically becoming a British citizen, or a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies, is a reference to the person becoming such a citizen without the need for—
(a)the person to be registered as such a citizen by the Secretary of State or any other minister of the Crown;
(b)the birth of the person to be registered by a diplomatic or consular representative of the United Kingdom; or
(c)the person to be naturalised as such a citizen.
(5)If the mother of a person could not actually have been married to the person’s natural father at the time of the person’s birth (for whatever reason), that fact does not prevent an assumption being made that the couple were married at the time of the birth.

Lord's Amendments 17, 35, and 36 - May 7, 2014

(Watch the full debate here 17:10 - 17:13)

On May 7, 2014, the House of Commons accepted Amendment 3/New Clause 66, now called Amendments 17, 35 and 36. These three amendments were voted into the Immigration Act 2014.  Finally!!!  Such an amazing and joyous day, and I can't thank those enough who helped us along the way to achieve what we had been fighting decades to have. 

James Brokenshire:  Lords Amendments 17, 35 and 36, which were proposed by Lord Avebury in the other place, correct an historical anomaly relating to the treatment of illegitimate children. Nationality law is complex, and anomalies arise, particularly as aspects of family life have changed since the time of the British Nationality Act 1981. In 2006, amendments to the 1981 Act enabled illegitimate children to inherit nationality from a British father in the same way as a legitimate child. Those amendments were not made retrospective. To have done so could have itself caused problems for individuals who were now adult and had made a life for themselves in a different nationality. These amendments enable illegitimate children born to British fathers before 2006 to register as British if they choose to do so, correcting a historical anomaly by providing a route to citizenship for those who want to take it.

Dr Huppert:  I thank the Minister for the Government’s support for these amendments, which I tried to put in the Bill but encountered some technical difficulties. Will he join me in paying tribute to those who campaigned for many years to get this injustice changed? People such as Tabitha Sprague, Antonia Fraser Fujinaga and Maureen Box tried very hard, and the many thousands affected by this will be delighted that the Government are now fixing it.

James Brokenshire:  I recognise those who have made the case for this change for some considerable time, and I am pleased that the Government have been able to support these amendments in the other place. I hope that this House will be equally able to support them here. It is important to recognise that they have addressed an historical anomaly and now allow that opportunity to the individuals affected of a route to citizenship that was not available to them before.

Fiona Mactaggart:  The Minister rightly says that we are dealing with an historical anomaly, and that makes the case for introducing this part of the Bill and commencing it as early as possible. I hope that he can assure the House that he will put his foot on the accelerator to do that, because my constituent whose case prompted Lord Avebury to table these amendments is still stuck in limbo and, like other people, he would like to be able to remedy his situation.

James Brokenshire:  I am grateful to the hon. Lady for that and I have certainly heard the points she has made.
The full Hansard source can be found here

Lord's Amendment 3 - May 6, 2014

(Watch the full debate here 15:34 - 15:56)

On May 6, 2014, the House of Lords accepted Amendment 79G, now titled Amendment 3/New Clause 66.  This was the final amendment, and it took close to two months to draft it to almost perfection, so that it would finally cover all children born to unmarried British fathers who are otherwise by descent.  Because citizenship law is so complex, our amendment needed to cover all bases and to cover any technical matters.  This amendment passed on May 6, 2014, and then went on to the House of Commons for consideration.

Amendment 3
Moved by Lord Avebury


3: Before Clause 66, insert the following new Clause—

“Persons unable to acquire citizenship: natural father not married to mother

After section 4D of the British Nationality Act 1981 insert—

4E The general conditions

For the purposes of sections 4F to 4I, a person (“P”) meets the general conditions if—

(a) P was born before 1 July 2006;

(b) at the time of P’s birth, P’s mother—

(i) was not married, or

(ii) was married to a person other than P’s natural father;

(c) no person is treated as the father of P under section 28 of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990; and

(d) P has never been a British citizen.

4F Person unable to be registered under other provisions of this Act

(1) A person (“P”) is entitled to be registered as a British citizen on an application made under this section if—

(a) P meets the general conditions; and

(b) P would be entitled to be registered as a British citizen under—had P’s mother been married to P’s natural father at the time of P’s birth.

(i) section 1(3),

(ii) section 3(2),

(iii) section 3(5),

(iv) paragraph 4 of Schedule 2, or

(v) paragraph 5 of Schedule 2,

had P’s mother been married to P’s natural father at the time of P’s birth.

(2) In the following provisions of this section “relevant registration provision” means the provision under which P would be entitled to be registered as a British citizen (as mentioned in subsection (1)(b)).

(3) If the relevant registration provision is section 3(2), a person who is registered as a British citizen under this section is a British citizen by descent.

(4) If the relevant registration provision is section 3(5), the Secretary of State may, in the special circumstances of the particular case, waive the need for any or all of the parental consents to be given.

(5) For that purpose, the “parental consents” are—

(a) the consent of P’s natural father, and

(b) the consent of P’s mother,

insofar as they would be required by section 3(5)(c) (as read with section 3(6)(b)), had P’s mother been married to P’s natural father at the time of P’s birth.

4G Person unable to become citizen automatically after commencement

(1) A person (“P”) is entitled to be registered as a British citizen on an application made under this section if—

(a) P meets the general conditions; and

(b) at any time in the period after commencement, P would have automatically become a British citizen at birth by the operation of any provision of this Act or the British Nationality (Falkland Islands) Act 1983, had P’s mother been married to P’s natural father at the time of P’s birth.

(2) A person who is registered as a British citizen under this section is a British citizen by descent if the British citizenship which the person would have acquired at birth (as mentioned in subsection (1)(b)) would (by virtue of section 14) have been British citizenship by descent.

(3) If P is under the age of 18, no application may be made unless the consent of P’s natural father and mother to the registration has been signified in the prescribed manner.

(4) But if P’s natural father or mother has died on or before the date of the application, the reference in subsection (3) to P’s natural father and mother is to be read as a reference to either of them.

(5) The Secretary of State may, in the special circumstances of a particular case, waive the need for any or all of the consents required by subsection (3) (as read with subsection (4)) to be given.

(6) The reference in this section to the period after commencement does not include the time of commencement (and, accordingly, this section does not apply to any case in which a person was unable to become a British citizen at commencement).

4H Citizen of UK and colonies unable to become citizen at commencement

(1) A person (“P”) is entitled to be registered as a British citizen on an application made under this section if—

(a) P meets the general conditions;

(b) P was a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies immediately before commencement; and

(c) P would have automatically become a British citizen at commencement, by the operation of any provision of this Act, had P’s mother been married to P’s natural father at the time of P’s birth.

(2) A person who is registered as a British citizen under this section is a British citizen by descent if the British citizenship which the person would have acquired at commencement (as mentioned in subsection (1)(c)) would (by virtue of section 14) have been British citizenship by descent.

4I Other person unable to become citizen at commencement

(1) A person (“P”) is entitled to be registered as a British citizen on an application made under this section if—

(a) P meets the general conditions;

(b) P is either—

(i) an eligible former British national, or

(ii) an eligible non-British national; and

(c) had P’s mother been married to P’s natural father at the time of P’s birth, P—

(i) would have been a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies immediately before commencement, and 

(ii) would have automatically become a British citizen at commencement by the operation of any provision of this Act.

(2) P is an “eligible former British national” if P was not a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies immediately before commencement and either—

(a) P ceased to be a British subject or a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies by virtue of the commencement of any independence legislation, but would not have done so had P’s mother been married to P’s natural father at the time of P’s birth, or

(b) P was a British subject who did not automatically become a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies at commencement of the British Nationality Act 1948 by the operation of any provision of it, but would have done so had P’s mother been married to P’s natural father at the time of P’s birth.

(3) P is an “eligible non-British national” if—

(a) P was never a British subject or citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies; and

(b) had P’s mother been married to P’s natural father at the time of P’s birth, P would have automatically become a British subject or citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies—

(i) at birth, or

(ii) by virtue of paragraph 3 of Schedule 3 to the British Nationality Act 1948 (child of male British 
subject to become citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies if the father becomes such a citizen).

(4) A person who is registered as a British citizen under this section is a British citizen by descent if the British citizenship which the person would have acquired at commencement (as mentioned in subsection (1)(c)(ii)) would (by virtue of section 14) have been British citizenship by descent.

(5) In determining for the purposes of subsection 1(c)(i) whether P would have been a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies immediately before commencement, it must be assumed that P would not have—

(a) renounced or been deprived of any notional British nationality, or

(b) lost any notional British nationality by virtue of P acquiring the nationality of a country or 
territory outside the United Kingdom.

(6) A “notional British nationality” is—

(a) in a case where P is an eligible former British national, any status as a British subject or a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies which P would have held at any time after P’s nationality loss (had that loss not occurred and had P’s mother been married to P’s natural father at the time of P’s birth);

(b) in a case where P is an eligible non-British national—

(i) P’s status as a British subject or citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies mentioned in subsection (3)(b), and

(ii) any other status as a British subject or citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies which P would have held at any time afterwards (had P’s mother been married to P’s natural father at the time of P’s birth).

(7) In this section—

“British subject” has any meaning which it had for the purposes of the British Nationality and Status of Aliens Act 1914;

“independence legislation” means an Act of Parliament or any subordinate legislation (within the meaning of the Interpretation Act 1978) forming part of the law in the United Kingdom (whenever passed or made, and whether or not still in force)—

(a) providing for a country or territory to become independent from the United Kingdom, or

(b) dealing with nationality, or any other ancillary matters, in connection with a country or territory becoming independent from the United Kingdom;

“P’s nationality loss” means P’s—

(a) ceasing to be a British subject or citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies (as mentioned in subsection (2)(a)), or

(b) not becoming a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies (as mentioned in subsection (2)(b)).

4J Sections 4E to 4I: supplementary provision

(1) In sections 4E to 4I and this section, a person’s “natural father” is a person who satisfies the requirements as to proof of paternity that are prescribed in regulations under section 50(9B).

(2) The power under section 50(9B) to make different provision for different circumstances includes power to make provision for the purposes of any provision of sections 4E to 4I which is different from other provision made under section 50(9B).

(3) The following provisions apply for the purposes of sections 4E to 4I.

(4) A reference to a person automatically becoming a British citizen, or a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies, is a reference to the person becoming such a citizen without the need for—

(a) the person to be registered as such a citizen by the Secretary of State or any other minister of the Crown;

(b) the birth of the person to be registered by a diplomatic or consular representative of the United Kingdom; or

(c) the person to be naturalised as such a citizen.

(5) If the mother of a person could not actually have been married to the person’s natural father at the time of the person’s birth (for whatever reason), that fact does not prevent an assumption being made that the couple were married at the time of the birth.”
 
Lord Avebury:  My Lords, the rationale behind this amendment, to put it as simply as possible, is to enable a child born before 1 July 2006 to a mother who is not married to the natural father to become a British citizen automatically, or to have an entitlement to be registered as a British citizen in circumstances where the child would have had either of those rights if the parents had been married.

I am grateful to the Minister for accepting in principle the amendment that I moved for this purpose in Committee and for deploying the formidable resources of the Bill team to turning the inadequate wording of my original attempt into the text now before your Lordships in Amendments 3 and 5, as well as for the useful exchanges that I had with the Minister and the Bill team during that process.

The reason for the cut-off date is that, after that, a child born to parents who were not married is already covered by the definition of “father” in Section 50(9A) of the British Nationality Act 1981—the BNA. These amendments will now cover the child born before 1 July 2006 whose mother never married the father or who was married to someone else at the time of the child’s birth. This reflects the way the Home Secretary has previously exercised discretion under the Act and will continue to do so for children born post-2006 where the mother’s husband is not the child’s natural father.

Proposed new Section 4F deals with persons who would currently have had an entitlement to register as British citizens under the specified sections of the BNA if their parents had been married. Currently, these persons can be registered at the discretion of the Home Secretary under Section 3(1) of the BNA, but Section 4F gives them an entitlement. If a person would be entitled to registration under Section 3(2) only, had their parents been married, registration under Section 4F gives them citizenship “by descent”—the status they would have acquired if their parents had been married. Section 14 of the BNA needs to be amended to secure this outcome, and this is accomplished by Amendment 5.

If a person would be entitled to registration under Section 3(5), had their parents been married, there is an additional discretion to waive parental consent. For the other specified subsections of the BNA in Section 4F, consent is required from both the mother and the “natural father”—the person who satisfies the proof of paternity regulations made under Section 50(9B) of the BNA.

Proposed new Section 4G covers those born after 1 January 1983 and before 1 July 2006 who would have become British citizens automatically if their parents had been married. The main beneficiaries of this section will be persons born in the UK to a British or settled parent who would have become British citizens under Section 1(1) or 1(1A) if their parents had been married and persons born abroad to a British parent who would have become British citizens under Section 2(1) if their parents had been married.

Proposed new Section 4H covers persons who were citizens of the UK and colonies immediately before 2 January 1983 but did not become British citizens because their parents were not married. This will benefit those who acquired citizenship through birth in a British colony and still had that status on 31 December 1982—for example, a person with a UK-born natural father who was born in a current overseas territory or was born in a former colony and did not acquire citizenship of that country when it became independent. Here again it is necessary to place these persons in the category “by descent” or “otherwise than by descent” to correspond with the status they would have had if their parents had been married. The distinction between these two categories occupies 26 pages of Fransman’s magisterial tome on British nationality law, so I hope your Lordships will be content with that reference.

Proposed new Section 4I benefits people who would have acquired British citizenship in three situations: first, if they were British subjects or citizens of the UK and colonies by birth in a former colony and would not have lost that status when that country became independent if their parents had been married; secondly, if they were British subjects before 1 January 1949 and would have become a CUKC on that date if their parents had been married; and thirdly, if they did not acquire the status of British subject or citizen of the UK and colonies but would have done so if their parents had been married. This will also benefit those who would have acquired citizenship under Section 5(1)(a), (c) or (d) of the British Nationality Act 1948. I am sorry to say that that will not apply to those whose parents had the right to register their births at a British consulate under Section 5(1)(d) while they were minors but omitted to do so. That reflects existing law for persons whose parents were married, and the rights of both groups will have to wait for a future opportunity.

Proposed new Section 4J defines a person’s “natural father”. It is interesting to recall that when the BNA was originally going through another place in 1981, the Minister—now the noble Lord, Lord Luce—said that citizenship could not be extended to illegitimate children because,


“the problem of identifying the father in such cases remains insurmountable”.—[Official Report, Commons, Standing Committee F, 17/3/81; col. 623.]

Watson and Crick had received the Nobel Prize for determining the structure of DNA 19 years earlier but the practical applications of their discovery were still a long way in the future. The power in proposed new Section 4J(2) is a broad one but this reflects the power to make different provisions for different circumstances that already exists in Section 50(9B) of the BNA. The provision is intended to benefit potential applicants and ensures that regulations for establishing the proof of paternity can be adapted if circumstances change; for example, following scientific advances.

It has not been possible to deal with the British Overseas Territories in these amendments because of course they would have to be consulted about any proposed amendments to the Act dealing with the forms of citizenship connected with those territories, as we have acknowledged. I would be grateful if my noble friend the Minister could assure me that the Government will launch such a consultation, preferably in the next Session of Parliament, so that, having done so, next time we have an immigration Bill we can deal with the limited number of stateless persons left with only BOTC status. At the same time this will enable us to annul some of the reservations we have put to our accession to the convention on the elimination of discrimination against women.

At Third Reading of the then Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Bill, the then Minister, the noble Lord, Lord Filkin, said:

“One can only go so far back in seeking to right the wrongs of history and of previous generations”.—[Official Report, 31/10/02; col. 298.]

My noble friend the Minister echoed this on the last day of Report. In the thickets and undergrowth of immigration law, there are still plenty of wrongs of history waiting to be rectified, but at least if your Lordships agree to these amendments they will remove most of the discrimination against people whose parents were not married that has infected our immigration law in the past. I beg to move.

Baroness Smith of Basildon: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, for his explanation of his amendment. Immigration law is far more complicated than most people realise and he did a great service to the House in explaining his amendment, which of course we welcome and support.

Turning to Amendment 6 concerning the Long Title of the Bill, which the Government have amended, I share with your Lordships my confusion and hope that the Minister can give some clarification. I am grateful to the Minister for meeting me last week to discuss this and other issues. He gave me a letter explaining the amendments before us today, which was very helpful. But he also said about what was then Amendment 4 and is now Amendment 6 that,

“an amendment to the Long Title is necessary to ensure that it covers nationality matters”.
He then referred to the amendment moved by the noble Lord, Lord Avebury,

“with a view to appropriate amendments on the issue at Third Reading to create a new registration provision for persons born before 1 July 2006”.

However, he did not say that that was not the only amendment being made to the Long Title, because the amendment as printed—although not referred to in his letter—says that it also makes,

“provision about the removal of citizenship from persons whose conduct is seriously prejudicial to the United Kingdom’s vital interests”.

Yet when we debated that issue here in your Lordships’ House at both Committee and Report stages—they were very good and lengthy debates, unlike those which took place in the other place, which were rather cursory—it was decided, despite the length of the debate and the complexity of the issue, that an amendment to the Bill would be made removing the Government’s clause and inserting a new clause saying in effect that this was a complex matter which should go to a committee of both Houses. That amendment, in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Pannick, was passed by a majority of 62. Although that issue is not in the Bill, it is now in the Long Title.

The other amendment to be passed on Report was that in the name of the noble and learned Baroness, Lady Butler-Sloss, on child trafficking and guardians for those children who are trafficked. Your Lordships’ House voted by a majority of 98 in favour of an amendment which would provide guardians for such trafficked children, yet that is not proposed to be in the Long Title. We therefore have the slightly curious position where something that was taken out of the Bill is now being inserted by the Government in the Long Title—although it is no longer in the Bill other than in the form of referral to a committee for further and proper examination—yet something that was inserted in the Bill is not referred to in the Long Title. Although I am sure that it is not the case, it would be outstandingly arrogant of the Government if they were to say, “Well, we know what is going to happen in the other place; we know what is going to happen later, so we will prepare for then”, whereas my understanding is that the Long Title should reflect the Bill as it leaves your Lordships’ House.

I wonder whether, in that, the Minister is trying to give us a clue as to what the Government’s intentions are when the Bill leaves this House today and goes to the other place for consideration of the amendments that we have proposed. If he is able to comment on why something that is not now in the Bill is in the Long Title, while something that is in the Bill is not in the Long Title, that would be very helpful, because the issue of deprivation of citizenship was removed from the Bill yet that of guardians for trafficked children was inserted. Can the Minister shine any light on that and say whether further amendments are expected and how the Government intend to consider further the amendments already passed in your Lordships’ House? If so, it would be a helpful contribution to this debate.

Lord Taylor of Holbeach:  My Lords, perhaps I may begin by taking this opportunity to thank my noble friend for tabling these amendments, which he will know we welcome. The House will recognise that nationality law is a complex and difficult area. Anomalies do arise, and have indeed done so, particularly as the way in which people view the family has changed since the British Nationality Act was introduced in 1981.

In 2006, amendments to that Act enabled illegitimate children to inherit nationality from a British father in the same way as a legitimate child. However, those amendments were not made retrospective. To have done so could have caused problems for individuals who were now adults and had made a life for themselves in a different nationality.

The amendments proposed by my noble friend today will enable illegitimate children born to British fathers before 2006 to register as British if they choose to do so. The measures apply to those who would have become British citizens automatically if they had been born legitimately. I realise that my noble friend is concerned also about the situation of those who could have become British if their unmarried parents had been able to register them as British, or in some circumstances if they had been able to register the birth with the consular service. However, the Government’s position—indeed, my noble friend restated it in his introduction—remains that we can go only so far to right the wrongs of history. There can be many reasons why parents may not choose to exercise these options and we cannot, therefore, now make assumptions about whether unmarried parents would have chosen to exercise them if they had had the opportunity to do so.

I know that my noble friend is also concerned about British Overseas Territories citizens. Changes to those provisions require consultation with the territories concerned and this has not been possible in the time available. However, I assure my noble friend that the Government will look for suitable opportunities to discuss this issue with the overseas territories once the provisions are implemented.

Perhaps I might now turn to the change to the Long Title of the Bill, under Amendment 6. Looking at the Bill, we still have deprivation as an issue under Clause 66. It is covered by that clause and it is quite proper that it should therefore be part and parcel of the Bill, but I will not suggest for one moment, while speaking at the Dispatch Box here today, what may be considered by the House of Commons when it takes on the amendments that we have made to the Bill. We have made a number of amendments and, as the noble Baroness will know, it is quite in order for the House of Commons to consider them and let us know what it thinks of the amendments that we have made.

Baroness Smith of Basildon:  I am sure that, as a former Member of the other place, I was not suggesting for one second that it does not have the right to look at our amendments and come to its own decisions. This is about the contrast between the two issues. While I am happy to accept the explanation that deprivation will be considered further by a Joint Committee of both Houses once the Bill leaves your Lordships’ House, that contrasts with the issues of the trafficking of children and guardians for trafficked children. That provision was passed by your Lordships’ House and does not now appear in the Long Title, even though it has been amended to deal with something that is not in the Bill in the same way. It is just that contradiction between the two and I would hope that the Minister can reassure me that, since this House has committed to the guardians for trafficked children, the Government will also remain so and are not taking for granted the support from the other place on the issue of deprivation of citizenship and making people stateless.
 
Lord Taylor of Holbeach:  It would not be in my nature to take anything for granted where Parliament is involved. However, I think I made the position of the Government quite clear on guardians for trafficking when the amendment was considered, and the noble Baroness herself has been well aware of that. I hope she will accept what I am saying. It will be a matter of our listening to the House of Commons, as we must now call the other place, and giving it an opportunity to present to us what it considers of our amendments. That is a reasonable position to take. Meanwhile, this change to the Long Title facilitates the adoption of my noble friend’s amendments, which I hope the House will support because they will be welcomed by many and assist individuals hitherto precluded from British citizenship by historical anomaly. They will therefore be able to register as British citizens if they wish to do so. I am extremely happy to be able to offer my support to my noble friend in this matter.
 
Lord Avebury: I am extraordinarily grateful to the Minister for his kind remarks and for his undertaking to take an opportunity, I hope in the near future, to raise the question of overseas territories and how their position can be brought into line with what we are now about to agree, as far as our own citizenship is concerned.

We have whittled away at the wrongs of history in 2002 and 2006, and now again in 2014. It is not beyond the bounds of possibility that on a future occasion we will be able to rectify some of the remaining difficulties that affect our nationality law, particularly the wrong that I think we did to people whose parents did not register them when they were minors. It would have been right, not just in the case of the illegitimate but also for those who were born to married parents, to allow those individuals when they became adults to exercise the rights that their parents had not exercised on their behalf.

However, that is only a very minor niggle compared with my pleasure at being able to move an amendment that grants citizenship to people who are illegitimate in circumstances where, if their parents have been married, they would have had it long ago.

Amendment 3 agreed.
The full Hansard source can be found here

Lord's Amendment 79G - March 19, 2014



(Watch the full debate here from 16:34 - 16:46)

On April 7, 2014, the light at the end of the tunnel began to appear when it was confirmed that our situation could in fact be remedied in the Immigration Act 2014. The rules under the House of Lords are much different, and if an amendment is considered "out of scope" of a bill in the House of Commons, it can be made to fit within the scope of a bill in the House of Lords. Of course, it was amazing to know that it was none other than Lord Avebury presenting the amendment (then called "Amendment 79G") to end this discrimination. He has been in our corner since the original British Nationality Act 1981, when he tried his hardest to allow all unmarried British fathers to pass on their citizenship to their children.
Amendment 79G
Moved by Lord Avebury 79G: After Clause 62, insert the following new Clause—
“Legitimacy (1) The British Nationality Act 1981 (c.16) is amended as follows.
(2) After section 4C (acquisition by registration: certain persons born between 1961 and 1983) insert— “4D Acquisition by registration: legitimacy (1) A person is entitled to be registered as a British citizen if— (a) he applies for registration under this section; and (b) he satisfies each of the following conditions. (2) The first condition is that the person was born before 1st July 2006.
(3) The second condition is that the person is not already a British citizen.
(4) The third condition is that the father of the child satisfies any requirements as to proof of paternity prescribed under section 50(9B) of this Act (interpretation).
(5) The fourth condition is that the person would have been a British citizen had his father been married to his mother at the time of his birth.”
Lord Avebury:  My Lords, we have made several attempts in previous legislation to remove the disadvantage which illegitimate children suffer compared to their legitimate siblings in citizenship law. Some children born to British fathers who are not married to their non-British mothers are still not entitled to inherit their father’s citizenship. Since 1983, that applies to a child born out of wedlock in the UK to a British father and a mother who is neither British nor settled in the UK—an anomaly that was only partially redressed by Section 9 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002. That section restored the right of such a child to British citizenship if he or she was born on or after 1 July 2006, leaving an arbitrary gap of 23 years from the date in 1983 prior to which all children born in the UK automatically acquired British citizenship.
The parents of such a child can apply to register him or her as a British citizen while he or she is still a minor, and the Home Office normally, but not invariably, exercises discretion in favour of those applications under Section 3(1) of the British Nationality Act 1981, but once he or she reaches the age of 18 there is no provision that allows him or her to become British—an irrational barrier, because it relies on the parents being aware of the qualified right and acting on it in time. There are examples on record of parents who discover the 2006 change too late.
The proposed new clause would allow a child born to a British father who is not married to their mother, and for that reason alone not British, to register as a British citizen. It assists a child born abroad to a father who is British otherwise than by descent to become British himself, and deals with the gap between 1983 and 2006 for the child born out of wedlock to a British father and a woman who is not British or settled in the UK. That would enable us to withdraw our reservation to the 1979 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, which declares in paragraph 2 of Article 9:
“States parties shall grant women equal rights with men with respect to the nationality of their children”.
The UK Government said that our acceptance of Article 9,
“shall not, how ever, be taken to invalidate the continuation of certain temporary or transitional provisions which will continue”,
beyond January 1983.
Discrimination in our citizenship has continued well beyond what might be considered temporary or transitional. Discrimination against women was corrected only by Section 4C of the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2006, and discrimination against men has been corrected only for their children born after 1 July 2006. We now have the opportunity to put this last piece of the jigsaw in place so that we can ratify the convention and sign up to the European Convention on Nationality. I hope that your Lordships will therefore agree to the amendment.
Baroness Lister of Burtersett (Lab):  My Lords, I am pleased to be able to support the amendment, although I was not able to put my name down to it fast enough. The noble Lord, Lord Avebury, has made the case for it very well. As I understand it, the Government accept the merits of the case and the substance of the amendment but, in the Public Bill Committee, questioned whether it lay within the scope of the Bill and suggested that there were better ways to take this forward. Presumably, as the amendment has been accepted by the Public Bill Office here, it is within the scope of the Bill.
I am not sure how many people are likely to be involved—perhaps the Minister could give us an estimate. As the Government said about Clause 60, it is the principle, not the number, that matters here. Even if it is only a handful, it matters to those people. I hope that the Minister will be able to come back with an amendment at Report to rectify what is clearly an unfair and anomalous piece of discrimination, based on the outmoded status of illegitimacy—indeed, what I would call an illegitimate status.
Baroness Smith of Basildon:  My Lords, this is an interesting and useful amendment that the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, has brought before us. If the only objection from the Government in the other place was that they thought it was out of scope and that it could not be brought forward, it is clearly no longer out of scope as it has been brought forward. I hope that the Minister might take the advice of my noble friend and that, if the Government are not able to accept this amendment or bring it back, they will explain why. I really hope that there can be a positive resolution to this.
Lord Taylor of Holbeach:  I am grateful to my noble friend Lord Avebury for raising this matter and to the noble Baronesses, Lady Lister of Burtersett and Lady Smith of Basildon, for supporting it because we are well aware of the issues faced in acquiring British citizenship by those whose parents never married. We agree that this is an anomaly which deserves to be addressed. Having understood that nationality matters were outside the scope of the Bill, we were considering whether a measure covering this could be drafted as a government handout Bill for the next Session. I understand that had this amendment been tabled in another place, it would indeed have been ruled out of scope. However, this House has different rules on relevance and therefore it is appropriate for us to debate the matter.
I say to the noble Baroness, Lady Lister, that while I cannot give her any numbers, she is quite right that this is not about numbers but about whether to do it or not. That is the position the Government are coming from.
As my noble friend Lord Avebury pointed out, the law changed on 1 July 2006 to enable British citizen fathers to pass on their citizenship to a child where the parents were not married. This was not made retrospective, however, because it could have created difficulties for those affected in relation to any other citizenships that they held. For example, some countries do not allow dual nationality, as some noble Lords will know. Since 1987, the Secretary of State has exercised discretion in relation to those born to an illegitimate father. Discretion is exercised under Section 3(1) of the 1981 Act to enable the registration of children born before 1 July 2006 who are the illegitimate children of British citizens or settled fathers. Registration can take place if the Home Secretary is satisfied about the paternity of the child, if all those with parental responsibility have consented, if the good character requirement is met and, had the child been born to the father legitimately, if he or she would have had an automatic claim to British citizenship or an entitlement to registration.
However, this exercise of discretion under Section 3(1) applies only to those who are minors at the date of the application for British citizenship. There is no power in law to register as a British citizen a person who was born illegitimately to a British citizen father before 2006 and who is now an adult. We accept that this creates a lacuna and that those who were born illegitimately to British citizen fathers are at a disadvantage compared with those whose parents were married.
I cannot accept my noble friend’s amendment as currently drafted because while this provision covers any person who would have been a British citizen had his parents been married, we think that it should be set out clearly exactly who should benefit from such a change in the law. In addition, other matters would need to be considered such as good character, which persons registered under this provision should be British citizens by descent and what additional measures should be included for those who might apply when under the age of 18. These are technical matters which need to be considered in amending the legislation. I am afraid that I must resist the amendment as it stands but I am happy to commit to taking it away, with a view to considering urgently whether the Government could prepare a suitable amendment for tabling at Report. I hope that amendment would have the support of the House, should it come back, and I therefore ask my noble friend to withdraw his amendment and its proposed new clause.
Lord Avebury:  I am most grateful to the noble Baronesses, Lady Lister and Lady Smith, and particularly to the Minister for his extremely accommodating reply and his undertaking to consider this proposal as a matter of urgency in the hope that something can be produced to be tabled on Report.
As to scope, I was not in doubt: if the Secretary of State could include provisions in the Bill regarding deprivation of citizenship, surely it was proper to allow acquisition of citizenship also to be within scope. That is implicitly conceded if the Minister can produce an amendment by Report that will match the aspirations of the amendment I have moved.
I never expect an amendment that I have drafted to be accepted on the spot by the Minister—that does not happen in real life—but the answer he has given is extremely satisfactory, and I am most grateful to him for the careful consideration he has given to this proposal. Accordingly, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment. Amendment 79G withdrawn.
What does the debate above mean? The points made in this debate were that Lord Avebury's amendment was now within the scope of the Immigration Bill, and since the government was supportive of changing the law, it would accept an amendment. However, this particulate amendment (79G) wasn't acceptable until it was rewritten to include some technical matters as to who exactly would be benefiting from the change in law. The amendment had to be withdrawn in order to be rewritten, and the new amendment would be accepted and tabled during the report stage, once it adhered to all the measures Lord Taylor requested.

The full Hansard source can be found here.