Deprivation of Citizenship
Deprivation of citizenship is a legal process of taking citizenship away. The key phrase here is: ‘conducive to publish good’.
From 16 June 2006, the Home Office can make a decision to deprive a person of his British citizenship status. This rule applies to any British citizen, British overseas territories citizen, British Overseas Citizen, British National (Overseas), British protected person or British subject. This is provided they believe that it will be conducive to the public good. For example, deprivation can happen on the grounds that someone has committed a serious criminal offence. It may also mean that after a conviction a person will never be eligible to re-acquire citizenship.
Also, cases involving national security, terrorism, serious, organised crime, war crimes and unacceptable behaviour such as preaching jihad will be considered as conducive to the public good.
Another example is when a person became a British citizen as a result of fraud, false representation or concealment of a material fact.
This is when applicants make their representations dishonestly. In other words, an innocent mistake will not count as ‘false representation’. Also, it should be a deliberate one. For example, deliberate abuse of immigration or nationality application processes (for example Knowledge of Life/ESOL testing) may lead to deprivation.
The caseworker should ensure that there was an intention to deceive. For this reason, an innocent error or genuine omission should not lead to deprivation.
Deprivation is unlikely to happen if as a result of the deprivation order a person becomes stateless. This is unless there are reasonable grounds to believe that this person can acquire another nationality.
However, what is notable here is that the burden of proof that a person has poor chances of acquiring another nationality is on the appellant. An appellant is a person who was deprived of British citizenship.
Deprivation of Citizenship
Before making a deprivation order the decision-maker should give written notice. In this notice, the decision-maker needs to explain his reason for making such an order. In this notice, he also needs to inform the person of his appeal rights.
If an Appellant chooses to exercise to his right to appeal against the decision, the Tribunal can allow an appeal only if the Secretary of State’s decision will violate the Human Rights Act 1998.
There is no specific time limit within which deprivation procedures may be initiated. This means that a person remains indefinitely liable to deprivation on the terms, which are explained above.
The UKVI cannot deprive a person of British citizenship if:
- fraud postdates the application for British citizenship; or
- a person was a minor on the date at which they applied for citizenship. This is because if the person was a child at the time when the fraud, false representation or concealment of material fact happened. In these circumstances, the caseworker should assume that the child was not complicit (in other words, agreeable to) in any deception by their parent or guardian. This is so even where the Home Office granted a child’s granted discretionary leave until their 18th birthday. The child usually gets discretionary leave after entering the UK as a sole minor. Their applications are usually successful because the child cannot go back. In other words, because of a lack of reception arrangements.
- a person was a minor on the date at which they acquired indefinite leave to remain and the false representation, concealment of a material fact or fraud arose at that stage and the leave to remain led to the subsequent acquisition of citizenship.
- Where there is evidence of some form of mental or physical impairment that can clearly be shown to have impacted the subject’s judgement at the time the material fraud took place.
- Where there is evidence of some form of coercion. And this evidence indicates that a person could not make independent decisions at the time the material fraud took place. There must be a lack of free will and/or sound judgement.
However, the above factors will not prevent deprivation where it is in the public interest to deprive a person of their citizenship.
These Are NOT Mitigating Factors
The UKVI will not accept the following examples as mitigating factors:
- where a person claims that a family member acted on their behalf; or
- where he claims that a representative or interpreter advised them to provide false details; or
- where an applicant claims that he was coerced into providing false information or concealing a fact, but has since had the opportunity to advise the Home Office of the correct position but failed to do so.
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