The report by the independent chief inspector of borders and immigration published on Thursday shines a light on the misery caused by unjust Home Office practices. Children who have lived here all or most of their lives are being asked to pay thousands for documents needed to become a British citizen.
For many children who grew up in the UK, the pathway to citizenship takes 10 years and costs more than £10,000. Others are already eligible but fees have spiralled out of control. The cost of a citizenship application, at £1,012, now stands at five times the European average. Tens of thousands of families are facing unaffordable costs and many more children, who already meet the strict eligibility criteria, are being blocked from applying at all.
British citizenship should not be solely the preserve of the wealthy, yet hard-working parents who have lived here for many years are forced into overwork, payday loans or an awful choice between securing one child’s documents over another.
This situation is damaging Britain’s reputation at a time when we need to reassure diverse communities that the UK remains a place of welcome. We are asking the Home Office to take a positive step by ending the practice of profiteering from immigration and citizenship applications.
Daniel Adebeso, aged 10 Surrey Square primary school (became a British citizen in 2018) on behalf of Citizens UK, Anne-Marie CanningDirector of social mobility, Kings College London, Kamena Dorling Group head of policy and public affairs, Coram, Minnie RahmanCampaigns and public affairs manager, JCWI, Nicola NobleHeadteacher, Surrey Square School, Stuart Tannock Associate professor in sociology of education, UCL Institute of Education, Jo Riley Headteacher, Randal Cremer primary school, Dami Makinde Co-Lead, Let Us Learn, Christine Bernard Headteacher, St Mary’s C of E primary school, Lewisham, Jim Henderson Headteacher, Archbishop Tenison’s school, Bethan Tanner Assistant principal, Saint Gabriel’s College, Rose Moses Assistant head, Oliver Goldsmiths primary school, Nine young migrants from the Media Movers project, Rosario Guimba-Stewart Chief executive, Lewisham Refugee and Migrant Network
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