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Stateless People

Volume 717: debated on Wednesday 3 March 2010


Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what measures are in place to reduce the number of stateless people in the United Kingdom. [HL2119]

There are several provisions in British nationality law which provide for the acquisition of citizenship by a stateless person. These enable us to meet our obligations under the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness.

Since 1 January 1983 a child born in the United Kingdom will only be a British citizen if either parent is a British citizen or settled in the United Kingdom. The British Nationality Act 1981 therefore contains provisions by which children born here can register as British citizens, either once a parent becomes British or settled, or following a period of residence in the United Kingdom.

There are also provisions by which stateless children born outside the United Kingdom after 1983 can be registered as British citizens if a parent holds a form of British Nationality.

A person who has remained stateless since the British Nationality Act 1981 came into force is entitled to registration in certain circumstances.

There are no specific provisions in place to cover those who have come to the UK but do not hold the nationality of another country. Adults who have come to the United Kingdom as stateless refugees are able to apply for naturalisation in the same way as any other applicant, on the basis of a period of residence here. The residence requirements for naturalisation exist to allow a person to demonstrate a close and continuing personal connection with the United Kingdom, irrespective of their current nationality.