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Home Office Can Revoke British Citizenship As Well As Deny It For Civil & Criminal Offences

23 August 2011

The Home Office?and the Home Secretary has the power to revoke British Citizenship under the 2006 Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act.

Increasing numbers of British nationals are being stripped of their citizenship under Home Office powers introduced in the wake of the 2005 London bombings, the Guardian reports this week.

The number of people subject to the power, under which the Home Secretary can deprive dual nationals of their British citizenship if it is deemed to be in the public interest, has increased since the coalition government came to power.

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The measure was included in the 2006 Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act as a direct result of the July 2005 bombings in which 52 people died and more than 700 were injured. It was used only four times in the following four years, but has been used nine times since last year's general election.

Five of the dual nationals deprived of their citizenship were British Pakistanis, while two were of dual British and Sudanese nationality. The remaining six were Australian, Iraqi, Russian, Egyptian and Lebanese dual nationals.

To date 10 of the orders have been appealed against.

The figures were obtained by the Guardian under the Freedom of Information Act after the Home Office refused to release them. It also refused to offer any explanation for the increase, saying: "British nationality is a privilege and the home secretary has the ability to remove it from dual nationals when she believes it to be in the public good."

Under the terms of the act the home secretary can deprive an individual of British citizenship if she believes it to be "conducive to the public good", a test historically applied to non-Britons facing deportation.

Previously home secretaries could act only if the British citizenship of a dual national was said to be "seriously prejudicial to the vital interests of the UK", usually because individuals were spies. Immigration lawyers and some MPs have criticised the power, saying the public interest test is set too low. Some are also concerned that British citizenship can be stripped from individuals whose other nationality is meaningless to them.

At least one of those who have lost their British citizenship is understood to have been born in the UK, while others are thought to have lived in Britain since infancy.

The Australian who lost his British dual nationality is David Hicks, who spent more than five years as a prisoner at Guant?namo Bay after being detained in northern Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks. The Russian is Anna Chapman, the spy deported with nine others from the US last year. She acquired British nationality through marriage before travelling to the US to join a network of sleeper agents.

The Home Office refused to explain the reasons for depriving the remaining 11 dual nationals of their British citizenship, maintaining it still has responsibilities to them under the Data Protection Act, although officials briefed journalists about Chapman's case. Source: The Guardian.

Although rarly used, the UK Government can strip a citizen of their passport or Indefinite Leave to Remain.

There are also a number of factors which could damage your chances of obtaining further or indefinite leave to remain in the United Kingdom.

Migrants should?be aware of the revised declarations?and questions on immigration forms for further leave or extensions of stay.

Most people are aware that criminal convictions, involvement with terrorist organisations or illegally claiming benefits could lead to a refusal.

However, many are unaware that even a non-criminal?less serious civil judgement may also affect your application to stay in the country.?

For instance, the FLR (M) Form (Version 04/2011) includes the following question:?

Do you or any dependants who are applying with you have any criminal convictions in the UK or any other country (including traffic offences) or any civil judgments made against you??

A civil judgement could be a county court judgement (CCJ) for an unpaid bill or debt.?

Hundreds of international students are currently being sued by their former colleges or universities for unpaid fees according to debt collection agencies.

Others have?run up?credit card debts or leave behind unpaid utility bills or rent arrears.

Moving house and burying your head in the sand will not?get you off the hook.?

A civil action for debts can be heard and judgement (CCJ) awarded in your absence, so ignoring the problem will only make things worse for you as court costs are added to the debt. Interest may also be added to the debt.?

A ?Default' for an unpaid?credit card bill can be registered without even going to court.?

A CCJ or Default will stay on your credit file and history for six years or more and will have to be declared on immigration forms.

Some universities and colleges will chase debtors even when they flee to their own country.

The UK is a land of easy credit compared to the rest of the world, but for those who abuse the system?the consequences can be serious.

If you need any immigration advice?or are worried about the new immigration rules or need help with Sponsorship or Work Permits, Visa, ILR/Settlement, Citizenship, dependant visa?or an appeal against a refusal please email:?

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