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British Citizenship

Volume 684: debated on Thursday 13 July 2006

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Why Ms NHK (ref: EM02834) has received no response to her letter to the Home Office Nationality Policy and Special Cases Unit dated 22 July 2005; and why she has not yet received a British citizenship certificate when it was known in January 2006 that her application was wrongly refused.[HL6119]

The lack of response to Ms NHK's letter is regretted and was due to oversight. There has been difficulty locating her papers because the reference she supplied was incorrect. A British citizenship certificate and a letter of apology have been sent to her.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will amend paragraph 14.18.5 of Chapter 14 of the Home Office Nationality Instructions to reflect the provisions of Section 1(6) of the British Nationality (Hong Kong) Act 1997, which does not disqualify a person from registering if he or she has acquired another nationality on or after the relevant date.[HL6763]

One effect of subsections (2) and (3) of Section 1 of the 1997 Act is that a person who had one of the specified forms of British nationality immediately before the relevant date can qualify for registration only if he or she would otherwise have been stateless. Since that would not be the case where a person already had another nationality or citizenship, it follows that subsection (6) can be referring only to the giving up of another nationality or citizenship acquired on or after that date. That is why the instructions say that a person will be disqualified if, on or after the relevant date, he or she has,

“acquired and renounced, or otherwise voluntarily relinquished, the nationality or citizenship of another country or territory”.

The noble Lord rightly points out that acquisition of another nationality or citizenship on or after the relevant date will not, in itself, operate to disqualify the person concerned. We shall look at the relevant paragraph again and consider whether the drafting might be improved so as to avoid possible misunderstanding.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by the Baroness Scotland of Asthal on 28 June (WA 146), and having regard to paragraph 3.4 of Annex D to Chapter 12 of the Home Office Nationality Instructions, on what basis a British Overseas citizen minor who has had another citizenship or nationality taken away from him due to no act, or failure to act, of his own is considered by the Home Office tohave renounced, voluntarily relinquished or lost through action or inaction that citizenship or nationality.[HL6766]

Section 4B(2)(c) of the British Nationality Act 1981 does not specify that the “action or inaction” that brought about the loss of the person's non-British nationality or citizenship must have been that of the person himself. It therefore seems to us unnecessary to inquire into the extent to which the person was cognisant of an action taken on his behalf (in this instance, an application by a parent for him to have a British passport). The actions specified in paragraph 3.4 of Annexe D to Chapter 12 of the Nationality Instructions, which relate to deprivation and nullity of citizenship, are of a different order in that they are taken neither by nor on behalf of the person concerned.