This month, the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Bill quietly completed its passage through the House of Lords, despite the fact that when this Bill becomes law thousands of people could be denied the chance to settle in the UK.
The UK Border Agency describes the Bill as a “shake up” of the route to Citizenship making “newcomers earn the right to stay here”.
Border and Immigration Minister Phil Woolas said:
“We are clear that newcomers should speak English, work hard, and earn the right to stay here – and only get British citizenship once they have proved their commitment to the country.
“Migration only works if it brings benefits, and these measures will ensure that only those migrants that make a positive impact on their local community will be able to stay in the UK.”
Measures in the new “Path to Citizenship” include:
- a new naturalisation process for foreign nationals to become British Citizens
- extending the Citizenship process from 5 to 8 years
- introducing the concept of ‘Earned Citizenship and
- introducing a ‘probationary citizenship’ replacing Indefinite Leave to Remain
- restricting Citizenship to certain skilled categories
- border controls between the Common Travel Area – UK and Ireland
The Bill is expected to become law later this year and will have far reaching effects on Filipino Work Permit holders, for instance, senior carers and nurses, hoping to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) or British Citizenship.
Many of the older generation Filipinos, some of whom have lived in the UK for more than 30 years, have never applied for Citizenship (after obtaining ILR), mainly because they did not want to give up their Philippine passports.
The good news is that you no longer have to surrender your passport to become British, as the Philippine Government now allows dual Nationality.
My advice is to apply for Indefinite leave to Remain (residency) or British Citizenship as soon as you meet the qualifying criteria.
If you need any immigration advice or help with Settlement, Citizenship, Sponsorship, extending Work Permits, Visa or an appeal against a refusal please email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.immigrationmatters.co.uk
If you have any specific questions or comments, or need advice, you may email me: email@example.com or phone me on 020 8905 1822