Some migrants applying for British citizenship might have to wait for as long as ten years for naturalisation, the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) warned today. Under new proposals in the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Bill, which is due to receive its second reading in the House of Lords later today (11 February), it may take as long as a decade for some migrants to become naturalised and settled in the UK
“Extra delays in naturalisation of two and three years run contrary to the Government’s wish to integrate migrants smoothly and swiftly into British society. Even people who want to naturalise on the basis of their marriage to UK citizens may have to wait for five years instead of the current three years. It is difficult to see any justification for this,” said Habib Rahman, JCWI’s chief executive.
JCWI believes the latest UK immigration proposals lag far behind those of most industrialised democracies and will do much to discourage highly skilled workers from wanting to settle in Britain or international students coming here to study. “Once again this country is looking to introduce a new set of immigration measures which are out of step with those of other European countries, the USA or Canada,” he said.
“Exclusion from rights entitlements – the basic safety net available to British citizens – and imposing far more vigorous standards on prospective citizens than those demanded of existing citizens seems likely to create a sense of injustice, exclusion, isolation and in extreme cases, poverty,” said Mr Rahman.
JCWI says that by putting forward much tougher laws for young people wishing to come to Britain to study, the proposals are at odds with the Government’s 2006 initiative to boost the numbers of international students coming to the UK. In a briefing document prepared in advance of today’s reading in the House of Lords, JCWI says tougher measures will deter international students from studying here. Overseas students’ fees contribute significantly to British universities. Under the new proposals international students will find their choice of study restricted and risk becoming criminalised and even removed from the UK for minor transgressions.
The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants is an independent, voluntary organisation which has been working in the field of immigration, asylum and nationality law since it was established in 1967.
It campaigns for justice, fairness and the welfare of immigrants within a human rights framework.