UK Home Secretary introduces tougher rules to stop criminals from gaining citizenship
1 August, 2023 | Anupam Shrivastava
The revisions eliminate previous provisions that allowed certain criminals to qualify for British citizenship after certain time, regardless of the type or location of the crime.
UK Home Secretary Suella Braverman announced on Monday the introduction of a “tougher threshold” aimed at preventing “serious criminals” from obtaining British citizenship.
In a tweet, the Indian-origin minister emphasized that British citizenship is a privilege and should not be granted to individuals who commit crimes or do not respect the country’s freedoms and rights. The new law replaces the previous rules that allowed some criminals to be eligible for citizenship after serving a custodial sentence of at least 12 months but less than 4 years, provided that 15 years had passed since the end of the sentence, regardless of the nature or location of the crime.
The UK government stated that these changes reinforce its commitment to safeguarding the country’s borders and ensuring that individuals with criminal records cannot exploit the British immigration and nationality system.
The updated rules impose stricter criteria concerning “good character” requirements, a crucial condition for being granted British citizenship. These requirements evaluate an individual’s adherence to UK laws and their respect for the rights and freedoms of British citizens. Factors considered include criminal convictions, immigration offences, and serious behaviors like war crimes, terrorism, or genocide, as outlined in the official statement by the UK government.
The revisions eliminate the previous provisions that allowed certain criminals to qualify for British citizenship after a prescribed period, regardless of the type or location of the crime. However, there will be exceptions to the new rules, with individual cases being assessed on their merits.
For instance, if someone has mitigating circumstances supporting an exceptional grant, they may still be considered. Such cases might include individuals who committed minor offences long ago but have since demonstrated significant positive changes, indicating good character, as mentioned in the government’s statement.