Tag Archives: naturalisation

WRS and Naturalisation

Aug 2017
Impact of failing to register under the Worker Registration Scheme on the naturalisation process.

Many of EU A8 nationals who came to the UK between 2004 to 2011 and failed to register under the Worker Registration Scheme, are now hesitant to apply for a document confirming their permanent residence and / or British nationality.

Whilst it is now clear that the lack of registration does not disqualify a worker from obtaining a document confirming their permanent residence, the impact of on the naturalisation process remains unclear.

A response to a FOI request in Jan 2017 appeared to indicate that if a document confirming permanent residence had been granted, the lack of registration would be unlikely to be considered as an element of good character consideration. The FOI read: ‘ Just not registering and not realizing you had to is unlikely to be a character issue’.

Since the Home Office have confirmed that they not in fact hold any policies, guidance or other related information, which relate to registering under the Worker Registration Scheme as part of the consideration of an application for British citizenship, we questioned the basis on which the response to the FOI in Jan 2017 was given.

Part of the Home Office response read as follows:

‘ it is unlikely, presumably on the basis that our good character guidance is quite extensive and, given that is it not mentioned there is an indication that it is not a significant factor. To clarify, in order to acquire permanent residence an EEA applicant has to show that they were lawfully residence and exercising Treaty rights for a continuous period of 5 years’

The assumption is that if you qualified for permanent residence, the absence of registering under the WRS would not be a factor considered under the good character requirement for obtaining British citizenship.

As the proposed new Brexit EU settlement process may require EU nationals who have already been granted an EEA PR document to have their rights to remain in the UK re-assessed, filing for naturalisation at the earliest remains the safest option at the point in time.

If you need Immigration legal assistance with your EEA PR or naturalisation application, please contact us.

EEA PR: Nationality applications ‘rejected’ by the Nationality Checking Service

September 2016 – Naturalisation applications from EEA nationals ‘rejected’ by the Nationality Checking Service.

We have recently come across a large number of EEA applicants who have found their applications for nationality turned down by the NCS on the grounds that they have held their Permanent Residence card for less then 12 months.

This is usually the case even when the applicant is in a position to show that they were granted permanent residence by the operation of law more than 12 months from attempting to file for naturalisation.

Following one of our client’s recent experience at the NCS where they were told that ‘the records showed that permanent residence had been held for less than 12 months’, we decided to contact the UKVI to seek clarification as to whether the Local Authority NCS did indeed have access to applicants’ details.

Their response reads as follows: ‘The Local Authority Nationality Checking Service (NCS) are not allowed to give any unsolicited advice on nationality or immigration matters.  As it is an unwaivable requirement that applicants have settled status they are expected to demonstrate this at the appointment.  However, if an EEA national has only held their Permanent Residence card for less than 12 months, the LA (with the applicant’s permission) can call us to see how early they were considered to be settled to enable them to apply under section 6(1) of the British Nationality Act 1981.’

 To avoid delays and additional costs, applicants should make use of the Subject Access Request to confirm the date they are deemed to have gained permanent residence 12 months or more from filing for naturalisation.

When filing for permanent residence, it is highly advisable to enclose a letter highlighting the 5 years the UKVI should take into account when assessing the application. This especially when submitting supporting documentation that runs all the way to the date of submission of the permanent residence applications.

Should the UKVI have entered an incorrect date, applicants should seek to get the said date corrected before proceeding with their naturalisation application.

For further information, please contact us.

British Citizenship for EEA applicants. Date of issuance of PR card not always relevant.

January 2016 – Under the British Nationality Act 1981 to qualify for British citizenship an applicant must show, amongst other things, that he or she is settled in the UK (i.e. he or she is free from any immigration restriction on the period for which he or she might remain in the UK).

Under normal circumstances, citizens of EU and EEA countries and their family members automatically gain permanent residence after exercising their treaty rights in the UK for 5 years.

Until November 2015, citizens of EU and EEA countries, who had automatically gained permanent residence in the UK, could apply for naturalisation providing that they could show that they had been free from immigration restriction for at least 12 months prior to filing for British citizenship.

Pursuant of British Nationality (General) (Amendment No. 3) Regulations 2015, citizens of EU and EEA countries are now required to apply for a permanent residence card before they can apply for British citizenship.  To do so, they are expected to complete the 85 page long EEA (PR) form and pay a processing fee of £65 per applicant.

Bearing in mind that the EEA Caseworking is taking on average 6 months, this additional requirement is going to extend the naturalisation process, which is by nature already a very protracted exercise, considerably.

Over the last few months, many of our clients were advised by the UKVI’s helpline and some of the Nationality Checking Centres that they would have to wait 12 months from obtaining their PR card before being able to file for naturalisation. The rational being that the PR card would in essence recognise their permanent residence only from the date of the card’s issuance rather than from the date they became permanent resident automatically by operation of EU law.

For instance, a Spanish national working in the UK since 2000 but issued with a PR card in 2015 would have to wait until 2016 to qualify for British Citizenship.

This interpretation of the regulations seemed to be at odds with EU Free movement law and needed to be clarified.

Following a recent FOI request the nationality policy team have now confirmed that permanent residence is acquired following 5 years of residence in accordance with the EEA Regulations and not on the date the residence card is issued. The date an applicant is deemed to have acquired permanent residence is recorded on the UKVI’s database and will be noted by the caseworker processing the naturalisation application.  It would appear that this information has yet to filter down to the army of staff dealing with ad-hoc enquiries.

 

For further information, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Naturalisation

Naturalisation is the process by which British citizenship is acquired by someone who held  foreign citizenship.

Although there are several routes to naturalisation, most applicants qualify for British citizenship through: – five years of residence in the UK; – or through marriage to a British citizen with three years’ residence in the UK as a spouse or civil partner.

In addition to the residency requirement, most naturalising citizens must hold indefinite leave to remain and meet requirements of ‘good character’, ability to communicate in English (or Welsh or Scottish Gaelic), and ‘knowledge of life in the UK’ (as assessed by a Life in the UK test, also required for those applying for settlement). Children may qualify for either automatic or discretionary “registration” as British citizens depending on the country of their birth and nationalities of their parents.

The Home Offices offers a checking service for nationality applicants. Applicants using the service can keep their original valuable documents such as passports and marriage certificates rather than submitting them with their applications.

Naturalisation Checking Service

Filing your naturalisation application without relinquishing your passport. The UKVI provides a checking service whereby an applicant can file their application for naturalisation without having to submit their original passport.  The checking service is usually offered by the applicant’s local authorities. Appointments are often required. For more information please contact us.

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