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Adoption: China

Volume 480: debated on Friday 17 October 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what progress has been made in the last six months in reaching agreement with the Chinese authorities about a protocol to enable British citizens to adopt Chinese children. (227801)

The China Center of Adoption Affairs (CCAA) has taken the position that adoptions under Chinese domestic law by British citizens resident in China cannot proceed without a guarantee of automatic conferral of British citizenship on the child.

Although UK adoption law has provisions that recognise adoptions effected in China, British nationality legislation provides that a child will not be a British citizen if the adoption is not made under the 1993 “Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption”, or the adoptive parents were not habitually resident in-the United Kingdom at the time the adoption was certified under the convention. Children in such cases can apply for registration as a British citizen at the Home Secretary’s discretion under section 3(1) of the British Nationality Act 1981.

In light of the position taken by the CCAA, the Home Office has considered whether it would be possible to give an indication to the Chinese authorities of the likely outcome of an application for citizenship by child adopted in China. The Home Office concluded that this is not possible because the Home Secretary is unable to fetter her discretion by undertaking to grant citizenship in advance of receiving an application.

Citizenship is a matter for the Home Office. However, officials from the Department for Children, Schools and Families are working with Home Office colleagues and Foreign and Commonwealth Office representatives in Beijing, to try and establish with the CCAA a mutually acceptable way forward, through the provision of text for a certificate which may be used in such adoption applications.