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British Citizenship

Volume 693: debated on Wednesday 27 June 2007

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

Why, having regard to Section 7 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002, the British consulate-general in Hong Kong is advising refused applicants for British citizenship that “there is no right of appeal against this decision”; and why applicants cannot apply to have such a decision judicially reviewed. [HL4374]

The British Nationality Act 1981, as originally drafted, specified that the decision of the Secretary of State, or a Governor or Lieutenant-Governor, to grant or refuse an application for citizenship should not be subject to appeal or review in any court. This provision was removed by the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002. There is, however, no formal appeal process for refused citizenship applications, although it has been the Border and Immigration Agency’s practice for many years to consider representations against refusal in order to assist applicants better to understand why they have been refused and to ensure that flawed refusal decisions are quickly remedied. The option to apply for judicial review of a decision has always been available. The Border and Immigration Agency is reviewing the wording that is currently used in its standard refusal letters.