Refused Naturalisation application based on illegal entry into the UK and good character
One of the common reasons provided by the Home Office for refusing a Naturalisation request is one of illegal entry into the UK which they relate to the good character requirement.
From experience, the Home Office will not delve into a full explanation of their refusal merely stating that the applicant was illegal from the date of entry to their regularisation of their immigration status. This leaves genuine applicants, especially recognised refugees, in a precarious and stressful situation.
It is accepted that a number of individuals who illegally enter the UK are seeking asylum and protection from the UK, although some will be recognised while others will be refused. The ones that are recognised as refugees will then need to wait a number of years to be settled and in most cases will also want to apply for a British passport as they do not possess any other form of identification or travel documents.
It is often the case that a caseworker has mis-understood and mis-applied the complicated naturalisation policies in place and proceeded to refuse an applicant’s application based on their illegal status without looking into detail the exact circumstances of their immigration history. One such example is a case where the applicant is a recognised refugee (recognised by the Home Office) and his/her application is refused based on their illegal entry without any further explanation. This leaves the applicant in a precarious and un resolved state as they are in effect stateless and imprisoned in the UK as they have no form of identity or travel documentation. The above does not make sense as the Home Office is punishing the applicant for something that they had no choice in. They were forced to flee their country to seek protection from the UK and it is common for them to be smuggled in by criminal gangs who take large amounts of their hard earned income and thereafter leave them without assistance once they entered the UK. Some are lucky in that they are assisted by charitable groups or friends to apply for asylum. Others are more unfortunate in that they are forced into illegal activities such as prostitution by unscrupulous gangs and if they are able to escape, they make their asylum application as soon as they do.
The point to make is that there could be a number of reasons as to the entry of a recognised refugee and when the Home Office updated its good character requirements; it never had the intention to negatively affect recognised refugees.
This was re-affirmed in writing by the Immigration Minister in a letter in March 2015 where he categorically stated and confirmed that the recent tightening of policy on granting British citizenship was not aimed at refugees. He state that there are circumstances where it would not be appropriately to refuse an application for British citizenship. He went on to provide an example where an individual enters clandestinely, but presents themselves to the authorities within a reasonable time period and has their asylum claim accepted, an application will not be refused solely on the grounds of the initial illegal entry.
The above is logical as well as just and fair and it is sincerely hoped that Home Office caseworkers are aware of this although given the inconsistent standards in decision making at the Home Office, it is never guaranteed.
It is advisable and prudent to obtain legal advice from a specialist immigration solicitor before making any proposed application.