My honourable friend the Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Nationality (Liam Byrne) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.
On 11 October the Prime Minister announced that the policy on applications for naturalisation as a British citizen from members of the British Armed Forces was being reviewed (Official Report, col. 298). I am pleased to announce that the review is now complete.
In most cases the Secretary of State will now be prepared to exercise his discretion under the British Nationality Act 1981 to disregard absences from the United Kingdom occasioned by service in the British Armed Forces when considering whether the applicant is residentially qualified for naturalisation.
Serving members of the Brigade of Gurkhas will continue to be treated in accordance with our longstanding agreement with the Government of Nepal. They will remain Nepalese citizens until they leave the brigade, after which they will be able to count their military service towards the residential qualification for naturalisation in the same way as other members of the Armed Forces.